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Guelph Storm hopeful looking for a fresh start (4 photos)

Former second round draft pick Alex Hogue is looking to earn a spot on the Storm blueline as they open the pre-season with a 4-0 loss to MIssissauga
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ORANGEVILLE - Alex Hogue just wants a chance.

As the Guelph Storm kicked off its exhibition schedule at Orangeville's Adler Street Community Centre Friday night, the 18-year-old defenceman got his first opportunity to take advantage of that chance.

Hogue was acquired from the Sarnia Sting earlier in the week in exchange for a conditional 15th round draft pick. The condition is if Hogue makes the team.

He was in the lineup Friday, despite having practiced just once with his new team, as Guelph lost its pre-season opener 4-0 to the Mississauga Steelheads.

"I was looking for a fresh start, somewhere where I could be playing. I'm capable of playing in this league and the opportunity didn't come for me in Sarnia," said Hogue.

"I'm thankful for what Sarnia did for me these last two years. It was a good ride. But I'm on to a new chapter and a new future and I'm pumped to start here in Guelph.

Hogue hails from Embrun, near Ottawa, the same home town as former Storm star Marty St. Pierre.

"I've met him a couple of times, he's a good guy," Hogue said.

Hogue was a second round draft pick in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection (the 13th defenceman taken) after totalling 47 points in 45 games for the Cumberland minor midgets.

He only got in 33 games his rookie season, which he accepted as part of the learning process on a team that had a deep blueline. But last year, despite playing in 55 games, he wasn't thrilled with the fact that much of that playing time was spent at forward.

Hogue totalled 11 points last season.

"First year was understandable because we had a really good team. Second year we had some injuries and I played a bunch of forward. I'm an offensive d-man and it just didn't work out. It was a good ride, the guys were good and the coaches were good, it just didn't work out.

"I told them in the summer that maybe it was bet to part ways. They were okay with it."

Storm coach George Burnett said Hogue has an opportunity to earn a spot on the team over the five-game exhibition schedule.

"I just want a chance to play and show what kind of player I can be," Hogue said.

The Storm has one veteran defenceman (Owen Lalonde), two second-year defencemen (Daniil Chayka and Zack Terry), two rookies (Luka Profaka, Clark Hiebert) and 18-year-old free agent Colin Campbell, who they signed Friday.

Nick Isaacson had two goals and Duncan Penman and Michael Stubbs added singles for the Steelheads Friday night.

Guelph had a couple of posts in the second period and Jacob Roach and Steve Gant were both stopped on breakaways.

Guelph had just a handful of regulars in the lineup and even they didn't play that much, as Burnett went with the kids.

Steve Grant and Ben McFarlane stood out with their physical play for Guelph. Danny Zhilkin showed flashes of his skill set while Luka Profaca played a confident game on the back end.

The Storm hosts the Flint Firebirds in an exhibition game at the Sleeman Centre Saturday at 7 p.m., then hosts Mississauga on Monday afternoon at 2 p.m.



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