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MacKenzie Entwistle, Guelph Storm even up OHL Championship Series

Entwistle scores twice in Game 3 and has been impressive on Guelph’s top line.

A 2-0 series hole is nothing to the Guelph Storm at this point.

Heading into the OHL Championship Series against the Ottawa 67s, MacKenzie Entwistle’s junior club had faced seven elimination games this postseason.

True to form, the Storm dropped Games 1 and 2 in Ottawa, but rebounded to take Games 3 and 4 at home, setting up a best two-of-three for the league title.

The Blackhawks prospect came up especially big in Game 3, and is playing a vital role on the best line in junior hockey.

Here’s a look at how Entwistle has fared in the first four games of the series.

Game 1: Ottawa 7, Guelph 2

Entwistle: 1 primary assist, 4 shots on goal

It hasn’t been uncommon for Guelph to lay an egg in these playoffs, and they came up against a rested 67s squad just a couple days after pulling off 3-1 series comeback win over Saginaw.

You can see Entwistle’s assist at around the :15 mark of this clip. He fed it to Isaac Ratcliffe as they enter the zone, and the Flyers prospect took care of the rest.

Game 2: Ottawa 4, Guelph 3

Entwistle: 1 primary assist, 1 shot, 2 for 7 on faceoffs

The Storm came close to stealing a road win, but the 67s pulled it out. The big news in this game was an ankle injury suffered by Ottawa goalie and Canucks prospect Michael DiPietro. He was replaced by Cedrick Andree, who held his own in relief.

Entwistle’s assist was similar to that in Game 1. He dished the puck to Keegan Stevenson, and played decoy as his teammate held on to the puck and fired into the Ottawa net.

Game 3: Guelph 7, Ottawa 2

Entwistle: 2 goals, 3 shots, 1 for 1 faceoffs

had a bird’s eye view for this one, sitting in the Sleeman Centre press box. I was therefore able to keep a closer eye on Entwistle, who started the game on the top line with Ratcliffe and Canadiens prospect Nick Suzuki.

Ratcliffe took a very early penalty, and Entwistle was out there killing it, a testament to how he’s been deployed in all situations by coach and GM George Burnett.

Entwistle was originally credited with a secondary assist on the opening goal, but it was given to Sean Durzi upon review by the scorekeeper. He was later presented with a glorious opportunity to score in the second period with his team up 3-2, but he failed to connect on a Suzuki pass that he seemed to have been expecting to be a shot.

Entwistle did end up scoring his first of the championship round in the third period to make it 5-2 Guelph. He received the puck to the right of the net, wedged his way out front and popped it in for some much needed insurance.

Entwistle wasn’t done there by a long shot. After Ratcliffe made it 6-2, Entwistle scored his seventh of the postseason on a nice bit of tidying up in front of the crease to extend Guelph’s lead to five. This one was assisted by Suzuki to add to quite a night for the top line.

Entwistle finished the game with two goals on three shots, and was the player chosen to address the media afterwards, alongside the coach. True to form, he gave credit to his linemates for his offensive outburst.

“(Suzuki) had five guys on him on both goals. Puck kind of popped loose, and I was fortunate enough to get that bounce and have it go in,” Entwistle said. “It’s always nice to get those goals. It’s nice for (Suzuki) and (Ratcliffe) to keep going. They’re playing good right now, I’ll just going to keep it rolling into the next game here.”

This was Ottawa’s first loss of the postseason, by the way.

Game 4: Guelph 5, Ottawa 4

Entwistle: 0 points, 3 shots, 3 for 5 on faceoffs.

Suzuki was the star in this one, setting a franchise record with his 38th point of the playoffs. That top line has become a tight unit, and he said his mates are making it easier for him.

“The guys I’m playing with, Ratcliffe and Entwistle, are just pounding the puck and creating a lot of opportunity,” Suzuki said.

That line dominated the possession game, and can cycle the puck with great efficacy. If they keep rolling, and the secondary scoring keeps rolling in, Guelph will be hard to beat.

It was the first game of the series Entwistle did not register a point.

As it stands, Entwistle is two wins away from his second straight OHL championship, and this experience will certainly serve him well moving forward.

Entwistle’s updated playoff stats:

22 games
7 goals (1 PP)
12 assists (1 PP)
0.86 points per game
53 shots
34 for 81 in faceoffs (42%)

Up next:

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