Do the Guelph Storm care enough?
Maybe not as much as they need to right now, says coach George Burnett.
"All I want is our guys to care, and some of the things I see show me that maybe we don't care as much as we need to," Burnett said following a 3-0 loss to the Saginaw Spirit at the Sleeman Centre Friday night.
It was Guelph's 11th loss in its past 12 games.
"I care about this group, I want to see them all do well. We've shown our ability to be a good team, to care about each other and play the game the right way," Burnett said following a long post game meeting.
"It's not one guy, but we're wasting too much energy right now on the bench and away from the whistle and we've got to figure this out quick"
Burnett said he spoke from the heart in the meeting.
"I try to speak from the heart. When you're in times like this you find out a lot about yourself, whether you're a coach or a player," Burnett said.
"I'm responsible for it. I take full responsibility for the hole we've dug and we're going to get through it and eventually we'll look back on it as a real learning experience."
He said he wants his players to do a little inner reflection.
"Somebody's got to take charge of it and get people to follow along.
"This isn't about Garrett's (McFadden) leadership, or Ratty (Isaac Ratcliffe) or Schnarzy (Nate Schnarr). I think as a group our older guys know they have to lead the way and set a good example."
Friday's defeat to the Spirit leaves the Storm in eighth place in the Western Conference standings.
Guelph has four regular season games remaining, three of those on the road.
Eighth place would mean a first round match-up with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Move up a notch and they would get the Kitchener Rangers.
The Storm, trailing 1-0 after a first period goal by the Spirit that went in off Storm forward Isaac Ratcliffe's stick, were all over the Spirit in the third period but couldn't get that tying goal.
Evan Cormier made 32 saves for the shutout and the Spirit scored twice into an empty net.
Burnett had praise for a handful of players, naming Barret Kirwin ("our best player tonight") and Zach Poirier, who had perhaps his strongest game in a Storm jersey.
"We need everybody to play with that kind of passion or desire or commitment or whatever it is," the coach said.
Guelph plays in Sarnia Saturday night. Their final home game of the regular season is Tuesday when Kitchener visits.