Guelph Storm coach George Burnett wants his players heading north when they’ve got the puck.
Instead he says they’re playing too much east/west hockey.
That means things are going south.
The Storm scored three times in an eight minute span of the third period to tie the game 4-4 at the Sleeman Centre Friday night, only to see the Owen Sound Attack score the winner with 2:48 left in the third period.
An empty net goal iced their 6-4 win.
“It’s turnovers. Our puck management is something we talk about every day and it’s not just our young guys, it’s everybody,” Burnett said.
“They’ve got to play north/south, put pucks behind their defence and go to work. “(Owen Sound) played desperate tonight and we played loose and sloppy.”
The game winning goal - a wrist shot form the point that beat a screened Anthony Popovich in the Storm net - came shortly after yet another Storm turnover, something that plagued them throughout the game.
“A massive turnover led to the winner and even six-on-five we carry the puck across the blue line three or four times and try to make a play east and west instead of just being patient and taking advantage of having the extra player on the ice,” Burnett said.
“We’re sloppy and we’re not as committed as we need to be.”
The resurgent Attack opened up a 4-1 lead early in the third period on Aidan Dudas’ second goal of the night, but goals by Liam Hawel, Isaac Ratcliffe and Alexey Toropchenko tied things up.
“I’ve got to be proud of our guys to battle back the way that we did, but the pace that we played at, the way that we moved, the execution, was all strong for all three of those goals,” Burnett said.
But two 10 minute spurts of energized hockey, early in the second period and late in the third, weren’t enough.
“We need more people competing,” Burnett said.
The loss leaves Guelph in sixth place in the Western Conference, just one point up on Owen Sound and two on the Windsor Spitfires.
They play in North Bay Sunday afternoon, in Windsor Thursday, then host Saginaw Friday.