The Guelph Storm knew they were potentially in for a rough weekend, but they didn't think it would be this rough.
A 6-1 loss to the first-place Erie Otters at the Sleeman Centre Monday afternoon saw the Storm lose all three of its weekend contests by a combined 17-4 score. That included a 5-1 loss in Barrie Saturday and a 6-2 loss at home Friday to Sarnia.
"We knew going in it was going to be a tough weekend," Storm coach Jarrod Skalde said.
"At the end of the day we've got to win some hockey games. We don't want the environment of losing three, four or five games in a row. We've got some work to do this week."
Guelph has now lost four in a row.
"Three high end teams. Hopefully we were hoping for a different outcome," rookie Storm forward Liam Stevens said. "Erie capitalizes on a lot of things. We have to be much better in the defensive end."
In the category of "small victories," the Storm actually played some pretty decent hockey in the first half of Monday's loss.
After a terrible start saw them fall behind 2-0 in the opening two minutes, Guelph rallied to make it 2-1 on a Liam Stevens goal and then played very well the rest of the period, hitting two goalposts in the process.
But every time the Storm got some momentum under its rumps, a bad penalty or a defensive breakdown by the forwards ended that momentum.
"We just couldn't do it for long enough ... it seemed to get stalled by penalties and what have you," Skalde said.
The killer, as acknowledged by Skalde, came late in the second period. Guelph trailed 2-1 and the offensive faceoff in the Erie end somehow turned into a four-on-two in the Guelph end and Jake Marchment scored to make it 3-1.
"I thought we were still in it at 2-1, then an offensive-zone face off that turns into a four-on-two against and it's in the back of our net. To me that was a difficult one. That goal was a big one," Skalde said.
The Otters then pumped three more past Michael Giugovaz in the third period. The Storm goaltender made 22 saves in the game.
For the Otters the win snapped a three-game losing streak.
"We scored on our opportunities," Erie coach Kris Knoblauch said. "Their goaltender played really well in the first period but then we started capitalizing. That's been missing the last few games."
Knoblauch said any team will have its ups and downs through a season, "but the best teams are able to keep their slumps really short."
"One game our power play stunk. One game our penalty kill stunk. The other game everything stunk," said Knoblauch, whose team is now a very impressive 23-4 on the road this season.
The Storm has a home-and-home with the Owen Sound Attack this weekend, Friday in Guelph and Saturday in Owen Sound.