Whalers Play Guelph Storm in First Round of OHL Playoffs
Photo - Plymouth's Stefan Noesen (an Ottawa Senators draft) battles with Guelph defenseman Andrey Pedan (New York Islanders) in a game earlier this season at Compuware Arena. Photo by Rena Laverty.
The Whalers will play the Guelph Storm in the best four-of-seven Ontario Hockey League Western Conference quarterfinal series starting Friday at 7:05 pm at Compuware Arena.
Here are the dates for the series:
PLYMOUTH-GUELPH SERIES DATES (series best four-of-seven):
Game 1 - Friday, March 23 - Guelph at Plymouth, 7:05 pm, Compuware Arena.
Game 2 - Sunday, March 25 - Plymouth at Guelph, 6:30 pm, Sleeman Centre.
Game 3 - Tuesday, March 27 - Guelph at Plymouth, 7:05 pm, Compuware Arena.
Game 4 - Thursday, March 29 - Plymouth at Guelph, 7:00 pm, Sleeman Centre.
(*) Game 5 - Saturday, March 31 - Guelph at Plymouth, 7:05 pm, Compuware Arena.
(*) Game 6 - Sunday, April 1 - Plymouth at Guelph, 6:30 pm, Sleeman Centre.
(*) Game 7 - Tuesday, April 3 - Guelph at Plymouth, 7:05 pm, Compuware Arena.
(*) if necessary
FREQUENT PLAYOFF PARTNERS: The Whalers and Storm are meeting in the playoffs for the eighth time since the Storm moved from Hamilton in 1991:
2007 Western Conference Quarter-Finals – Plymouth eliminated Guelph, 4-games-to-0.
2006 Western Conference Semi-Finals – Guelph eliminated Plymouth, 4-games-to-2.
2004 Western Conference Semi-Finals – Guelph eliminated Plymouth, 4-games-to 0.
2000 Western Conference Quarter-Finals – Plymouth eliminated Guelph, 4-games-2.
1998 Ontario Hockey League Semi-Finals – Guelph eliminated Plymouth, 4-games-to-0.
1995 Ontario Hockey League Championship Series – Plymouth (then known Detroit Jr. Red Wings) eliminated Guelph, 4-games-to-2, to win the OHL Championship.
1993 Emms Division Quarter-Finals – Detroit eliminated Guelph, 4-games-to-2.
WHALERS PRIDE and FRUSTRATION: Patrick King of Sportsnet.ca featured the Whalers earlier this week.
What do the last four Ontario Hockey League champions have in common with the Plymouth Whalers?
All four went through Plymouth on the road to the J. Ross Robertson Cup. Since being crowned league champions in 2007, the Whalers' season consistently ended at the hands of the eventual champs. Last season, it was Owen Sound. The previous two years, the Windsor Spitfires reigned. And in 2008, the MasterCard Memorial Cup host Kitchener Rangers used the Whalers as a stepping stone to glory.
The Whalers weren't always built to capture the trophy, but their four-year run (if we can call it that) is somewhat cruel, in a way. Watching a team win a championship after dashing your team's aspirations can border somewhere between pride and frustration.
The architect of those teams chooses the former.
"If this was the NHL," explains head coach and general manager Mike Vellucci, "I'd say it would be frustration, but this is junior hockey and there's that cycle you go through."
THE GUELPH SIDE: Like the Whalers, Guelph general manager Mike Kelly decided not to make any deals at the Final OHL Trade Deadline on January 10. As a younger team, the Storm is in a different position than Plymouth.
Tony Saxon of the Guelph Mercury has the story:
GUELPH – When all was said and done, Guelph Storm general manager Mike Kelly felt the best move to make on trade deadline day was no move at all.
With an eye towards developing his current young squad for the future, Kelly did not make any deals Tuesday as the Ontario Hockey League trade deadline came and went.
“I know there’s a lot of interest among fans and media at the trade deadline, and some people probably would have liked to see some things happen, but we’ve got a philosophy and a culture that we’re trying to develop. This is a good, young hockey club,” Kelly said as the deadline passed.
“We’re not opposed to making deals when the deal makes sense for the organization and the kids in the organization, but we’re not going to make deals for the sake of shaking things up.”