HAMILTON - The Guelph Storm wrapped up its pre-season with a 5-4 shootout loss to the Hamilton Bulldogs Saturday night, but coach George Burnett was still pretty pleased with what he saw on the ice at Dave Andreychuk Arena.
"Every experience that the young kids get a chance to go out and bang against another team that's not their buddies is important," Burnett said.
"There were times tonight when we looked sluggish and there were times where we had good jump. But when I look at the six youngest kids we had in the lineup tonight I was very pleased."
Cooper Walker and Matt Papais had their best games of the preseason and first round pick Danny Zhilkin was strong, picking up two assists.
"As we say, if you're in position, the puck will find you and I thought we did a good job of that tonight, including the kids on the so-called third or fourth line," Burnett said.
"Cooper's very intelligent on the ice and what he lacks in a bit of strength right now he makes up for being in the right spot because he just knows where to go and he's extremely coachable," Burnett said.
Zach Terry didn't dress for the Storm leaving them with five defencemen, three of them rookies. Cam Hillis also got the night off.
The Storm finished the preseason with 2-3 record.
Guelph Minor Hockey product Logan Morrison scored the lone goal of the three-shooter shootout, beating Guelph goaltender Owen Bennett between the legs after a deke. Andrei Bakanov, Danny Zhilkin and Ty Collins failed on Guelph attempts.
In regulation the Storm got goals from Cedric Ralph, Daniil Chayka, Bakanov and Collins.
Owen Bennet was decent in net, making some big saves over the night.
The regular season kicks off Friday night with a banner-raising ceremony at the Sleeman Centre prior to the opening game against the Ottawa 67's.