Guelph Storm goaltender Liam Herbst will take the accolades. He’ll also take his lumps.
Brilliant enough in the first two games of the season to earn Canadian Hockey League goaltender of the week honours, Herbst has been less than stellar in his two outings since then, including a 5-4 loss to the Windsor Spitfires at the Sleeman Centre Friday night.
And he’s mature enough to own up to it.
“I need to be that guy that I was in the first weekend of the year and I believe I am. I just have to figure some things out,” Herbst said.
The Storm outshot the Spitfires by a 47-27 margin, including a 21-3 advantage in the third period.
“Obviously I’m not happy. I believe I have the capability to play with any team and any goalie in this league and I should on a consistent basis,” Herbst said.
While a tuck-in by Gabe Vilardi from behind the net and a Cole Carter knuckleball over the glove hand were tough goals but ones that happen. It was the winning goal that stung the most.
With the Storm on a power play early in the third period, Herbst came well out of his net to play a puck but flubbed an attempted pass that went straight to Windsor’s Carter who promptly deposited it in the wide-open net for the shorthanded tally.
It was a tough way to lose a tight, well-played hockey game.
“I thought five-on-five we were the better team,” Storm coach Jarrod Skalde said, and he was right.
“There were a lot of positives tonight and if we compete like that on a nightly basis we will get rewarded for it.”
Guelph led 3-1 by the 7:45 mark of the second period, but Windsor scored four straight goals to take a 5-3 lead late into the third period.
Two of those goals came on both ends of a five-on-three power play late in the second period.
The game had its positives, most notably the fight they showed in the third period against one of the top teams in the OHL.
“I was extremely impressed with our group, especially in that third period,” Herbst said. “We deserved to win.
“As a group it was a great effort and something to build on.”
Luke Burghardt’s goal with 5:08 remaining in the third got the Storm within one, but despite some good chances with the goaltender yanked for the final 94 seconds, but couldn’t tie it up.
Isaac Ratcliffe, Jake Bricknell and Nate Schnarr had the Storm’s other goals.
The Storm plays in Hamilton Saturday night and in Kitchener on Monday afternoon. Next home game is Friday when the Erie Otters visit.