The new look Guelph Storm looked an awful lot like the old Guelph Storm Tuesday night at the Sleeman Centre.
Riding high with seven points out of its last four games, the Storm returned to some old bad habits in a 5-2 loss to the Kitchener Rangers.
Bad penalties, individual efforts, lack of quality scoring chances: they all reared their ugly heads again.
And Storm coach Jarrod Skalde wasn’t about to mince words.
“They were the better team for the whole game. They won every single facet of that hockey game” said the Storm coach of the Rangers.
“They were playing as a team … we were just chasing them around all night long.”
Skalde said the team felt it could “just throw the sticks out there” because of the success they’ve had of late (three wins and a shootout loss in its last four games) but that it just doesn’t work that way.
“There was an absolute void of emotion right from the first face off. There was absolutely no emotion on our part,” Skalde said. “It’s a tough game to play when you don’t play with any emotion.”
The Rangers led 3-0 after 20 minutes and were in control pretty much the entire game.
Guelph showed some spark for about six minutes early in the third period, but failed to capitalize on some glorious scoring chances that might have given them a shot late in the period.
Nate Schnarr and Barret Kirwin had the Storm goals.
Joe Garreffa had two goals and an assist to lead the Rangers. Adam Mascherin, Darby Llewellyn and Frank Hora had the others. Guelph native Connor Bunnaman was held off the scoresheet.
“Everybody has got to be better, including myself,” said Storm goalie Anthony Popovich, making his fifth consecutive start in the Storm net. He made 34 saves.
“We just weren’t ready to go from the start and they took advantage of that.”
Popovich has had his confidence boosted by his play – both quantity and quality – of late.
“It builds your confidence, especially playing back-to-back games,” he said.
“The coaches are going to play whoever the hot goalie is and the last week it was me.”
The game – which had no fights – deteriorated into whistle after whistle over the final 10 minutes of the game.
The Storm will also lose forward Luke Burghardt for a minimum of three games after he was given a category 3 abuse of officials’ game misconduct for manhandling a linesman while trying to get at a Kitchener player late in the game.
Guelph has a three-in-three weekend coming up, Friday at home with Windsor, Saturday in Flint and Sunday at 4 p.m. versus Sudbury.