The Guelph Storm needs a hero.
Yeah, it’s a team game …. everyone chips in …. blah …. blah …. Blah. Now someone has to step up.
What this team needs is for a veteran or two or three to emerge and take the heat off Nick Suzuki and Isaac Ratcliffe.
The Storm has proven it can avoid elimination on the road, having done it twice in London in the last round.
Down 3-1 in that series, they came up with a 3-1 win at Budweiser Gardens.
Can they come up with the same heroics tonight at Saginaw’s Dow Event Centre?
One thing is for sure, they will come up with a better effort than the miserable showing at the Sleeman Centre on Wednesday.
That night, playing against a team missing two top-six defencemen (Justin Murray and Mason Millman) and a 16-year-old rookie in net, the Storm stunk the joint out.
Tristan Lennox has been excellent, despite his youth and inexperience. But he wasn't really tested in Game 4 the way he was in Game 3.
Guelph played mostly a perimetre game, took too many needless penalties and several veterans were virtually invisible in the offensive zone.
No need to name names.
Take “Suzuki,” “Ratcliffe” and “Toropchenko” off your list of Storm forwards and you pretty much have the list of those underperforming on Wednesday.
And that’s the key Friday: getting production from elsewhere.
With home-ice advantage and last change, Saginaw can do what it can to try and neutralize, or at least dull, the effectiveness of Suzuki and Ratcliffe, the only consistent forward in this round for the Storm.
They pick the line match-up, they pick the defensive pairing it wants out there.
Someone else has to come through. Ralph did it in Game 3. Now it’s Nate Schnarr, Alexey Toropchenko, Pavel Gogolev, Liam Hawel and Dom Commisso who have to get their names on the scoresheet if there is to be a Game 6 in Guelph Sunday.
You’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem.
And unless people perform to their capabilities tonight in Michigan, there will be no more chances to fix it.