Daniil Chayka has played a lot of hockey over the past year.
Between Guelph Storm regular season games, playoffs, exhibition and international events for his native Russia, coach George Burnett figures he's played around 140 games.
"He's a little tired right now. We have to be careful with the minutes for Chayks and (Fedor) Gordeev in particular. They've been up in the high 20s and that will wear on you," Burnett said.
"Daniil's just turned 17 and we sometimes forget that."
Chayka was front and centre again Friday night, logging plenty of ice time as the Storm hammered the struggling North Bay Battalion 9-3 at the Sleeman Centre.
"At the end of the season, yeah, I'm getting tired," he said after Friday's big win.
But he wouldn't pass up all the international experience, which has helped him look much calmer and confident this year.
"Just getting more confidence. It's my second season and I feel that since I get more ice time I have more confidence," he said, adding that playing on penalty kills and the power play also help build confidence.
As a late birth date, he also has another season to go before his NHL draft year.
"Of course I can't wait until my draft year, but I have more time. I'm just going to work," he said.
Chayka switched to wearing number 5 this season, and while he certainly acknowledges all the help that Dmitri Samorukov gave him last season, the number switch wasn't an homage to the last player that wore it.
"My favourite number is 55 and we can't go over 30 so I couldn't have 55. Sammy had number 5 ... when Sammy left the team I took number five," Chayka explained.
"But of course he helped me a lot, outside the ice, on the ice. He explained a lot of things, so a big 'thank you,'" to Samorukov, Chayka said.
Friday was a night of firsts for the Storm.
Marko Sikic had his first OHL goal, Michael Bianconi scored his first as a member of the Storm, Collin Campbell and Jacob Maillett picked up their first OHL points and Ben McFarlane and Jacob Roach had their first OHL fights, both late in the game.
Roach actually had the Gordie Howe Hat Trick: a goal, an assist and a fight.
The game was actually much closer than the final score would indicate, with Guelph holding a tentative 4-2 lead heading into the third before busting it open with four goals in the first 11:15 of the final frame.
Cam Hillis had his third four-point night of the season with a goal and three assists.
Nico Daws made 31 saves as the Storm was actually outshot 34-32 on the night. Joe Vrbetic was in net for all nine of Guelph's goals at the other end.
North Bay has now allowed five or more goals in 10 of their 13 games this season.
"We did a lot of good things tonight," Burnett said. "The score looks like it was a one-sided affair, but I didn't see that myself. They had a couple of posts when it was a two-goal game.
"It's fun to score, because we're not a team that's expected to score a whole lot .... I think that's what brings teams together, when everyone's involved."
The Storm is back at it Sunday afternoon when the Mississauga Steelheads visit the Sleeman Centre.