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Burnett takes the blame for a Sleeman Centre stinker (9 photos)

Storm outplayed for most of the night in home-ice loss to rival Kitchener Rangers

It was the kind of performance that leads to post-game meetings.

So that's exactly what the Guelph Storm did following a lousy performance at the Sleeman Centre Friday night that saw them play about 10 minutes of good hockey in a 5-2 loss to the Kitchener Rangers.

First coach George Burnett held court. After he left the dressing room, the players spent  15 minutes talking among themselves.

Burnett was the first to emerge and take the blame for the loss.

"It's my responsibility to get these guys ready to play and clearly they're not, so that's on me," the Storm coach said. "This is on me. I'm the leader and I've got to make sure I've got this group ready to go."

Kitchener jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period and it could have been four had a goal not been called back for a close offside call.

"There's not a lot of words to describe what you saw tonight. It speaks for itself," Burnett said. "Clearly not close to being good enough for this hockey club."

The second period and the start of the third didn't bring much relief to the large crowd on hand for the Highway 7 rivalry match.

It wasn't, oddly enough, until Alexey Toropchenko clobbered Kitchener rookie Isaac Langdon with a nasty check to the head that things picked up for the maroon and white.

Toropchenko was given a five-minute major and game misconduct.

MacKenzie Entwistle scored shorthanded for Guelph shortly after that and for the next 10 minutes the Storm dominated the play.

A late goal by Joseph Garreffa with under a minute to play finally sealed the deal.

Too little, too late.

A power play that went 0-for-5 didn't help the cause.

"I think we're just getting too comfortable with each other," said Storm captain Isaac Ratcliffe.

"We're coming into games thinking we're going to blow teams out ... we ought to know that every night we play these guys they're going to come out hard and that's exactly what they did."

Ratcliffe said there were very few positives to take out of Friday's game.

The skill is there, the hunger isn't.

"Exactly," said Ratcliffe. "We talk about that all the time and we've been talking about that all week.

"Their hard work is definitely going to beat our skill and it's not acceptable. We just have to hold ourselves accountable."

The Storm hosts the Flint Firebirds in a Family Day game Monday that starts at 2 p.m.


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Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 30 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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