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Bad penalties leave Guelph Storm coach steamed

Another bad penalty behind the play in a close game might see Givani Smith facing some internal discipline
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FLINT, MI. – Second round NHL draft pick and first line OHLer or not, the Guelph Storm's Givani Smith might be in for some tough love from his coach.

Two more bad penalties on Sunday, including one behind the play at centre ice with 2:10 left in regulation with the Storm pressing for the tying goal, had coach Jarrod Skalde a little steamed after Sunday’s 4-2 loss to the Flint Firebirds at the Dort Federal Event Centre.

“We’re trying to win a hockey game and we’ve got 19 guys doing it the right way and we have all the momentum on our side and to take a penalty like that is frustrating and it’s not the first time,” Skalde said.

“We’ve talked about it, we’ve talked to individuals about it and it just doesn’t seem to sink in.”

The Storm coach said he will “absolutely” think about doing something specific with Smith to address the issue.

“When it happens a couple of times early in the year you address it, but when you’re sitting here in February and the same thing keeps happening ….,” Skalde said, his voice trailing off.

Sunday’s loss was another game the Storm coulda’-shoulda’-woulda’ come away with at least a point with a little more luck and a little more execution.

Matt Hotchkiss and Dmitri Samorukov both missed open nets and Albert Michnac rang one off the post.

“We played nine periods this weekend and I think we probably played seven solid, solid periods,” Skalde said. “Overall I like the way we played this weekend.”

“We played better than the results showed,” Skalde said.

Still, it was a 1-1 game midway through the contest and the eventual winning goal came when a weak point shot hit the Firebirds’ Maurizio Colella in front and found its way past Liam Herbst.

That made it 3-1. Nate Schnarr’s power play goal with a little over seven minutes left made it 3-2 and the Storm was pressing until Smith’s penalty killed any momentum.

Ryan Moore’s third goal of the game, into an empty net, sealed the deal.

Ryan Merkley had a goal and an assist for the Storm.

“I thought we had a great weekend. We had a big win in North Bay then in Sault Ste. Marie we had the number five team in the CHL up 5-2 before we had a mental collapse. Same thing (Sunday), I thought we had a great game,” Merkley said.

“I look at the positives. Keep moving forward and keep making strides in the right direction and things will start going our Merkley said.

Skalde went with overager Liam Herbst in net in all three of the weekend games.

“You evaluate the whole process, in practice and in games and I just thought Herbie has been having a good run there the last few weeks,” Skalde said.

“I thought in all the games he played well enough to earn the next start. It’s a game-by-game decision.”

There was a scary moment in the first period when Flint’s Jack Phibbs collided with a Storm player and appeared to be out cold on the ice. He was taken off on a stretcher and gave his teammates the thumbs-up as he was wheeled by their bench.

Phibbs was taken to hospital and was reportedly okay.

Austin Hall missed Sunday’s game with an upper body injury suffered in North Bay. Luke Burghardt missed the game with an injury suffered in Sault St. Marie.

Guelph plays in Sarnia on Wednesday then hosts the last-place overall Barrie Colts on Friday at the Sleeman Centre.



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