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MacKenzie Entwistle heading to OHL final for 2nd straight year

Entwistle continues to lead by example in Guelph’s journey to the OHL final.

Tony Saxon / Guelph Today

They did it again.

Blackhawks forward prospect MacKenzie Entwistle and the Guelph Storm completed another epic Ontario Hockey League playoff comeback Monday, defeating the Saginaw Spirit in Game 7 after being down 3-1 in the series.

This, of course, comes on the heels of a reverse sweep against the London Knights in the second round. Both Game 7s were won on the road as Guelph entered the playoffs as the fourth seed in the Western Conference.

No team in OHL history had ever come back from two separate 0-2 series deficits, according to Mike Stubbs, the radio voice of the Knights.

Now, they are the Wayne Gretzky Trophy champions and Entwistle is going back to the OHL final after winning the league championship with the Hamilton Bulldogs last season.

Here’s how Guelph won the last three games, Entwistle’s performance therein.

Game 5: Guelph 4, Saginaw 0

Entwistle: 0 points, 4 shots, 2 for 5 in faceoffs

After spending Games 3 and 4 down the depth chart after getting banged up in Game 2, Entwistle was back on the top line with Nick Suzuki and Isaac Ratcliffe for this one. It was a total team effort and the depth guys came up big in the scoring department.

Game 6: Guelph 5, Saginaw 1

Entwistle: 1 primary assist, 2 shots, 1 for 2 in faceoffs.

Suzuki scored possibly the nicest goal you’ll see in the playoffs at any level this year, and Entiwstle drew the primary assist by playing a little give and go with the dynamic center. Keep an eye on the bottom of the screen to check Entwistle’s contribution while fending off the opposition.


Game 7: Guelph 3, Saginaw 2

Entwistle: 0 points, 3 shots.

This was Guelph’s seventh win in seven elimination games.

“Honestly, words can’t describe how proud I am of the guys in that room,” Entwistle told Tony Saxon of Guelph Today. “It’s not easy to come back four straight against London and we did it again against Saginaw. It’s just hard work and dedication. No one wants to lose. We’re excited. It’s nice to win this, but we’re not done.”

Entwistle was one of several key additions made by Storm general manager George Burnett prior to the trade deadline, and it’s paid off with the team’s first Western Conference championship since 2014.

The road won’t get any easier, as Guelph is now set to play the Ottawa 67s, a team that finished first overall in the regular season and has gone a clean 12-0 in the playoffs so far. The OHL champion will advance to the four-team round-robin Memorial Cup in Halifax to determine the Canadian Hockey League champion.

The view from Saginaw, however, suggests Guelph can get it done.

“On paper, that is the best team in the league. They’ve got five world junior players on there, they’ve got a million guys drafted. That team is the best team in the league,” said Saginaw coach Chris Lazary.

“I fully expect them to go on and win the OHL championship.”

Entwistle’s updated playoff stat line:

18 games
5 goals (1 PP)
10 assists (1 PP)
0.83 points per game
42 shots
28 for 67 in faceoffs (41.8%)

Up next:

Ottawa 67’s (1) vs. GUELPH STORM (4)

Game 1, Thurs., May 2 at Ottawa, 7 p.m.

Game 2, Sat., May 4 at Ottawa, 2 p.m.

Game 3, Mon., May 6 at Guelph, 7 p.m.

Game 4, Wed., May 8 at Guelph, 7 p.m.

Game 5, Fri., May 10 at Ottawa, 7 p.m.*

Game 6, Sun., May 12 at Guelph, 2 p.m.*

Game 7, Mon., May 13 at Ottawa, 7 p.m.*

*if necessary