Whalers Hammer Guelph, 9-3; Lead Series 3-to-2
Photo - Stefan Noesen (blue 11) scores one of his three goals in the first period in the Whalers' 9-3 win over Guelph Saturday night.
MORE COMING...the Whalers are in transit tonight to Guelph.
PLYMOUTH - The Plymouth Whalers took their first lead in their Western Conference quarterfinal series with Guelph emphatically Saturday night before 3,207 at Compuware Arena.
Stefan Noesen scored three goals and two assists - all in the first period - and the Whalers snapped a 2-2 tie in the first period with four goals in a span of 4:07 en route to a 9-3 win over the Guelph Storm in game 5 of the series.
Plymouth leads the series, three-games-to-two. Plymouth and Guelph play Game 6 Sunday evening at 6:30 pm at Sleeman Centre 6:20, www.plymouthwhalers.com).
Mitchell Heard and Jamie Devane scored twice for Plymouth, while Rickard Rakell and Andy Bathgate scored one goal each. Four Plymouth goals - one each by Noesen, Rakell, Bathgate and Devane - came shorthanded and the Whalers power play contributed a goal as well.
As well as the Whalers played offensively, Plymouth defenders blocked many Guelph shots, working effectively in the passing and shooting lanes. Whalers defenseman Nick Malysa was +5 in the game.
Francis Menard (3), Kyle Pereira (first) and Zack Mitchell (2) scored for Guelph.
After losing the first two games of the series, the Whalers have roared back to win three straight games by a combined score of 21-6. Plymouth has dominated special teams in the series and is now 11-for-30 on the power play (36.7 percent) while killing 22-of-28 Guelph power plays (78.5 percent).
The teams traded two goals aside in the first period. Noesen scored shorthanded at 2:11 for Plymouth, Menard tied the game at 7:12, Rakell scored another shorthanded goal at 10:09 and Pereira tied the game at 2-2 with a goal at 12:09.
Then the Whalers exploded for four goals in a span of 4:07 to tkae the game over - Noesen (rebound at 13:52), Heard (shot from the right circle on a power play at 14:56), Noesen (shot from the hash marks at 17:29) and Heard (back hand shot in front, set up by Tom Wilson at 17:59).
Guelph's starting goaltender - Garret Sparks - was pulled after Noesen's hat trick goal at 17:29 in favor of Brandon Foote, who went the rest of the way in goal for the Storm.
Plymouth led, 6-2, after on one period.
After Mitchell cut the Plymouth lead to 6-3 at 11:48 of the second period, Devane went to work, scoring at 14:52. Bathgate then scored shorthanded to extend the Plymouth lead to 8-3 at 17:45, knocking down a Guelph shot in the Plymouth high slot, picking up the puck at center, outracing Guelph defenders and scoring, five-hole on Foote.
Plymouth led, 8-3, after forty minutes.
Devane scored the only goal of the third period, accepting Matt Mistele's pass from the right circle and scoring from the left hash mark.
Plymouth outshot Guelph, 41-34.
The Whalers' nine-goal outburst is the most Plymouth has scored in a playoff game since March 21, 1999, when Plymouth defeated Windsor, 9-1, at Compuware Arena in game 1 of a first-round playoff series. Harold Druken had a hat trick that night.