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Guelph Storm offence is missing in action

Scores just once for the third time in past four games

On paper, this is not a team that should have trouble scoring goals.

But that’s exactly what’s happening to the Guelph Storm these days as the team managed just one goal for the third time in its past four games Friday night, falling 3-1 to the Niagara IceDogs at the Sleeman Centre.

Guelph managed just 14 shots on Niagara goaltender Stephen Dhillon over the first two periods, and that included four power play chances. They ended up with 25 on the night.

“Some of our guys that have got the credentials to score in this league aren’t moving their feet and they’re standing up the ice waiting for pucks to come to them,” said Storm coach George Burnett.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that are capable of putting the puck in the net and I’d like to see them get more chances because they’re going to get rewarded at some point in time, but they’re struggling right now and that’s a concern.”

The game was a muddling affair for the most part, with Niagara’s Johnny Corneil breaking a scoreless tie on a two-on-one chance midway through the second period.

Zach Poirier tied the game for Guelph early in the third period.

The line of Poirier, Cedric Ralph and Barret Kirwin was the Storm’s best line on the night.

“Twenty three minutes of hard work and compete doesn’t win hockey games,” said Burnett.

“We’ll get there. But we’ve got to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and come with a full 60 minutes of hard work and effort.”

The winning goal came at 16:45 of the third period when Ondrej Machala got goal-side position on Storm defenceman Ryan Merkley and redirected a pass from the corner past Storm goaltender Anthony Popovich.

Niagara iced it with an empty-net goal at 18:16.

“Slumps happen and maybe we’re just in one. I don’t think it’s for lack of chances or lack of effort,” said Storm captain Garrett McFadden.

“A few guys are just getting a little unlucky so hopefully we can just change that into productivity.”

McFadden was quick to give some of the credit to a gritty IceDogs team that was blocking shots and getting in passing and shooting lanes all night.

“We’re working and we’re trying to put pucks towards the net. To not get rewarded when you have a couple of good shifts is tough, but that’s up to us to find the back of the net.”

Guelph heads to Sarnia Saturday night to take on the red hot Sting, who are off to a 7-1 start to the season.