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Guelph Storm opens pre-season with a loss

Team's seven rookies get their first taste of the OHL

ANCASTER – It wasn’t about the final score Friday night, as the Guelph Storm opened its pre-season with a 4-2 loss to the Hamilton Bulldogs.

It was about the seven rookies in the lineup figuring out that things are a little different at this level.

“I think if you asked the seven young guys in there tonight what the difference was they’d tell you there’s not nearly as much time and space,” said Storm coach George Burnett.

“I’m not displeased with the effort and they learned some valuable efforts tonight.”

Guelph trailed 3-0 early in the third period before goals by Barret Kirwin and first round pick Tag Bertuzzi scored to make a game of it.

Hamilton scored into the empty net with nine seconds on the clock to ice the win.

“It’s the first opportunity. I liked the way we responded in the second and third period and our compete level was much higher as the game went along,” said Burnett.

Nico Daws went all the way in net and other than one goal from a bad angle played very well, being named the game’s third star.

The Storm sat out seven veterans, including overage defencemen Garret McFadden and Mark Shoemaker.

“I know that the group that wasn’t in there tonight is a veteran experienced group, so I’m not going to pick this game apart, I’d rather dwell on the good things,” Burnett said.

“We hustled, we worked hard, we created scoring chances and had some opportunities.”

Guelph was outshot 16-0 in the first period but settled down after that.

Ben Garagan, Connor McMichael, Marian Studenic and Ben Garagan scored for the Bulldogs.

Guelph plays in Mississauga Saturday night then hosts Mississauga Monday afternoon.

They play a total of five pre-season games prior to their season opener on Sept. 22.