It was a game that had a couple of memorable moments for all the wrong reasons.
The Guelph Storm wrapped up a dreary weekend with a 4-1 loss to the Sudbury Wolves Sunday at the Sleeman Centre, a game where both teams looked and played dog-tired.
“You wouldn’t think we were tired. We had nine days off and played some inspired hockey after the break,” Storm coach Jarrod Skalde said.
“For some reason we’re finding ways to lose. For me, we’re just overall uninspired.
Sunday’s loss came after an even worse effort in Flint on Saturday night, a 7-2 loss.
The game featured a 199-foot own goal by Guelph’s Nate Schnarr in the second period and saw Storm rookie Ryan Merkley told to leave the team’s bench by Skalde after exchanging words between the two in the first period following a Sudbury goal.
“It’s just a young man learning,” was all Skalde wanted to say of the Merkley incident.
He was back on the bench to start the second period and played regularly the rest of the way.
The other odd moment came on a delayed penalty to the Wolves and Storm goaltender Anthony Popovich on the bench for the extra attacker.
Schnarr had the puck behind the Wolves net and slide a centering pass up the middle of the ice that sailed all the way down the ice into his own net. Sudbury defenceman and Guelph native Patrick Sanvido got credit for the goal, his first of the season.
Guelph trailed 2-1 after one period and 3-1 after two.
Dmitri Samorukov, on the power play, had Guelph’s lone goal. Anthony Popovich played net and made 14 saves.
Dmitry Sokolov had two goals for Sudbury and Alan Lyszczarczyk added an empty net goal.
Guelph didn’t get home from a Saturday night game in Flint until 2 a.m. Sunday.
“It’s part of playing in this league. A lot of us have been through a lot of three-in-three weekends and I think we’re at the stage where everyone’s conditioning should never be a problem,” Storm captain Garrett McFadden said.
“We need to learn how to be able to keep our composure through weekends.
“If we want to be a team that’s making a late push, putting pressure on the seven and eight seeds, we need to be more consistent and make these big games count.”
With 29 games left in the regular season the last-place Storm sit nine points back of the Flint Firebirds for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
And it doesn’t get any easier.
This week they have a home-and-home series with the hottest team in the Ontario Hockey League, the Owen Sound Attack, who on Sunday beat the Kitchener Rangers for their 10th consecutive win.
Wednesday Guelph plays in in Owen Sound and then hosts them on Friday.