Guelph Storm coach Jarrod Skalde went somewhere no coach likes to go Friday night.
A 6-2 loss to the Ottawa 67’s in front of 4,600 at the Sleeman Centre, Guelph’s sixth straight defeat and ninth in its past 10 games, had Skalde wondering if some of his players had “checked out.”
“Obviously our concern is that some guys checked out and if that’s the case, it’s unacceptable,” Skalde said.
“As a coaching staff we have to evaluate that and make sure these guys understand that they’re playing for jobs next year. There’s a lot on the line and there’s a lot of hockey left that has to be played and they have a responsibility.”
The only players Skalde named were Nic Sicoly and Brock Philips, Guelph’s two goal scorers on the night who he said play hard the entire game every game.
“Somewhere in there we’ve got to make sure guys are competing and there were clearly some guys that weren’t competing tonight,” he said.
Guelph started off just fine Friday, but it didn’t last long.
A goal by Nic Sicoly 1:05 into the game gave the Storm its only lead of the game. That lasted a little over four minutes before Dante Salituro tied it up.
Ottawa gradually took over the game in the second period, outscoring Guelph 3-1 with the help of two power play goals. The 67’s got a pair of power plays on delay of game penalties to Storm goaltender Michael Giugovaz for clearing the puck over the glass and another for too many men on the ice.
Ottawa had the only two goals of the third.
Former Storm forward Adam Craievich had a pair of goals for the 67’s, who tallied six goals on just 25 shots. Guelph native Austen Keating chipped in with an assist.
“I didn’t mind out start. We got the first goal and I thought ‘gee, the boys are really into this one,’” Skalde said. “But it went off the rails really quick.”
Storm general manager Mike Kelly confirmed before the game that the team has signed 7th round draft pick Cedric Ralph. The 5-foot-9, 165-pound Peterborough native led the Lindsay Muskies in scoring this season with 18 goals and 23 assists in 53 games. The Muskies’ season wrapped up a week ago as they did not make the Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League playoffs.
Ralph will play in one of the Storm’s other games this weekend, either Saturday night in Hamilton or at home against Sault Ste. Marie on Sunday at 2 p.m.