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Guelph Storm falters in likely first round playoff preview (8 photos)

Only three games remain in the regular season and the rival Kitchener Rangers are the likely first round opponent

The Guelph Storm didn’t have much of a message to send to its likely first round playoff opponent Sunday at the Sleeman Centre,

With three games left in the regular season it is the Kitchener Rangers that will be their likely opponent on Friday, March 22, when the playoffs start.

Those Rangers took advantage of a dog-tired Storm team Sunday afternoon at the Sleeman Centre, winning in convincing fashion, 5-2.

The two teams played eight times this season, with each team winning four.

Storm coach George Burnett wasn’t putting too much stock in the loss. His team was playing its third game in less than three days and the tank was empty.

"I'm not going to spend a lot of time being concerned about it," Burnett said of the loss. "We're pretty beat up and it showed tonight.

"Today's more about energy, being undermanned and not having much left in the tank. Give (KItchener) credit, they played well, but they were a little fresher than we were and it showed."

Burnett said there were a lot of mistakes made by players that usually don't make them because they were tired.

One thing the coach wasn't happy with was all the yapping his players did, at the other team and the officials.

"We spent a lot of time talking, and that hasn't proven very successful for us. When we've been very successful in the last few weeks and won a lot of hockey games we've been pretty focused with what's been going on on the ice. That's certainly something we need to do better."

Guelph was terrible for the first 40 minutes, trailing 4-0 and managing just 14 shots on Kitchener goaltender Luke Richardson.

An 0-for-5 effort on the power play didn't help matters, while Kitchener scored three times with the man advantage.

The locals came alive a bit in the third, with goals by Fedor Gordeev and MacKenzie Entwistle, but it was too little too late.

"Special teams didn't help us tonight," Burnett said. "The power play didn't capitalize early, which probably would have helped us, penalty kill was poor and we didn't get any saves."

Burnett said the power play "will be fine" once some missing personnel returns to the lineup.

"When you look at some of the people that aren't in there, I think there's some poeple that will make a pretty big contribution when they get back," Burnett said.

Storm forward Cedric Ralph left the game early and didn't return after falling ill.

Nate Schnarr hit the 100 point plateau in a win in Owen Sound Saturday night and Isaac Ratcliffe is two goals shy of becoming the fourth player in Storm history to score 50 goals in a season.

The Storm wraps up regular season action with home game's Wednesday against London and Friday against Erie before finishing off in Erie on Saturday night.