You can say one thing about this new group of Guelph Storm players: they don’t shy away from the physical going.
The Storm hosted the Mississauga Steelheads Saturday night at the Sleeman Centre in the first of five pre-season games, 3-1 loss where Matt Papais had the lone Storm goal.
While it’s difficult to get a sense of the team from a pre-season game four days into training camp, it is apparent that the youngsters don’t mind the physical going.
Cam Allen, Charlie Paquette, Chase Coughlan and Ryan McGuire were all giving as good as they got Saturday, looking for and delivering lots of contact.
“There’s not a lack of interest to be part of the physical game, that’s for sure,” said coach George Burnett. “And not just one or two guys. Almost to a man.”
Burnett said one of the challenges is learning how and when to use that physical game, as it can “tire you out pretty quick.”
“We have to learn when to play physical and when not to,” he said. “It can zap your energy pretty quick but it can also be very useful.”
Burnett was pretty pleased with the way the game went, although it was apparent the squad tired as the game went on.
“We had 13 guys playing their first OHL game tonight,” Burnett said.
“For most of them it was the first game in 500 days where you were playing a meaningful game that wasn’t against your buddies.”
Burnett said he asked he players following the game what they learned and to a man they felt there was “we’ve got work to do.”
“There were a lot of positives,” Burnett said.
Guelph has 27 players still on its training camp roster.
It includes one new addition, as they had overage candidate Drew Wawrow in the lineup Saturday night. Wawrow is here on a tryout.
He’s played two years in the league: last season with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and the year before split between Subury and the Soo.
Last season he had a goal and five assists for the Hounds, who released him over the summer.
Marko Sikic and Michael Bianconi have yet to arrive in camp with the team’s understanding. They are both expected soon.
Guelph’s next exhibition game is Sept. 12 in Mississauga. Next home exhibition game is Sept. 24 against Niagara.