Jason Dickinson and Pius Suter had two goals each as the Guelph Storm routed the North Bay Battalion 10-1 on Wednesday to take a 3-1 lead in the Ontario Hockey League final.
Scott Kosmachuk scored and had three assists for Guelph, while Kerby Rychel and Robby Fabbri had a goal and two assists apiece. Matt Finn, Zac Leslie and Tyler Bertuzzi chipped in as well. Goalie Justin Nichols made 22 saves for the win.
"We have a lot guys chipping in, if one guy is not going one night the next guy is. You just have to work on keeping things simple and getting pucks in. Things are just clicking right now," said Kosmachuk.
Nick Paul was the lone scorer for North Bay. Jake Smith stopped 16-of-23 shots faced in 38:11 of work, while Brendan O'Neill turned aside 15-of-18 shots in relief.
"It was a disappointing loss, they got the jump on us early and we didn't recover from that and the game spiralled from that," said North Bay coach Stan Butler.
The Storm scored on two of their three power plays, while the Battalion could not convert any of their three man advantages.
Guelph struck early, scoring three goals in the first frame, including two by Suter.
The centre opened the scoring just four minutes into the game and added to the Storm's lead with a short-handed goal at the tail end of the period to make it 3-0. The other goal came at the 11-minute mark from Kosmachuck. All told the Battalion were outshot 14-4 in the period.
"We weren't emotionally attached to the game early on. We seem to play better when we get intense and involved," Guelph head coach Scott Walker said. "I thought the players did a heck of a job staying disciplined."
It didn't get much better for the home team in the second.
Leslie scored on the Storm's first shot on net and, just 90 seconds later, Dickinson blew the game wide open with his seventh of the playoffs.
Smith was finally pulled from the Battalion's net after Bertuzzi made it 7-0 with less than two minutes to go in the period. But O'Neill didn't fare much better, surrendering a goal before the buzzer.
"In playoffs you've got to have a very short memory, because if you don't you're going to dwell on things that are going to affect you going forward. Are we disappointed? Obviously. Are we upset? Extremely. Are we frustrated? No. We got to play a lot better on Friday night," said Butler.
North Bay's lone bright spot was Paul's goal midway through the third. Rychel and Finn responded for the Storm in period.
Game 5 is Friday in Guelph, Ont.
"We have a very good leadership group in our room," said Kosmachuk. "They know it's not going to be easy. We have to be on our toes and play hard."
North Bay has already battled back in the playoffs after being down 3-1. They eliminated the Niagara IceDogs in seven games in the first round of the playoffs.
The last time Guelph won the OHL championship was in 2004.