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Storm, Rangers battle in possible OHL playoff preview on TSN+

Jett Luchanko Guelph Storm Jett Luchanko - Natalie Shaver/OHL Images

The Guelph Storm and the Kitchener Rangers battle in the latter half of a home-and-home in what could be a first-round playoff preview on Tuesday.

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Guelph comes into Tuesday's game in the middle of a clogged Western Conference, where two points separate the teams in spots five through eight.

The Storm are tied with the Erie Otters for fifth in the conference with a 30-27-7 record with four games remaining on the season.

They're coming off a tight 5-4 victory over the Rangers in the first leg of the home-and-home that saw winger Charlie Paquette register two goals and an assist.

Gavin Grundner had a goal and an assist in the victory while Washington Capitals prospects Cam Allen and Jake Karabela also scored for the Storm.

Goaltender Damian Slavik improved his record to 7-5-3 on the season after allowing four goals on 30 shots in his first start since March 9.

Centre Jett Luchanko leads the Storm in scoring this season, recording 20 goals and 71 points in 64 games. The 5-foot-11 forward is eligible for the 2024 NHL Draft and is ranked 26th on TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie's mid-season rankings.

Brayden Gillespie started the majority of the games for the Storm this season, going 23-21-4 with an .898 save percentage and 3.15 goals-against average. He last appeared during the Storm's 5-4 overtime loss to the Saginaw Spirit on Friday where he allowed five goals on 43 shots.

The Storm are 4-4-2 in this last 10 games and have a 2-4-1 record against the Rangers this season. They wrap up their regular season with a home-and-home against the Owen Sound attack followed with a game against the league-leading London Knights.

Kitchener enters Tuesday's matchup knowing that they will finish fourth in the West with a 41-22-2 record. They are 7-3-0 in their past 10 games.

Seattle Kraken prospect and Canadian World Juniors star Carson Rehkopf leads the team offensively with 52 goals and 93 points in 57 games this season. The 6-foot-1 centre is one goal shy of North Bay Battalion forward Anthony Romani for the OHL goal scoring lead.

Rehkopf has points in 11 of his past 13 games, including a six-point performance against the Sarnia Sting on Feb. 23.

Calgary Flames fans will have an opportunity to watch prospect defenceman Hunter Brzustewicz in action after he was acquired from the Vancouver Canucks as part of the Elias Lindholm trade in January.

Brzustewicz is second in OHL defencemen scoring with 12 goals and 89 points and is one point back of 2024 NHL draft top prospect Zayne Parekh for the lead.

Jackson Parsons patrols the crease in Kitchener, registering a 27-17-1 record with an .897 save percentage and 2.97 GAA this season. He last appeared during the Rangers' loss to the Storm on Sunday, allowing five goals on 24 shots.

The Rangers wrap up their regular season with games against the Oshawa Generals and the Otters.