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Guelph Storm's dreary campaign comes to an end

Team finishes with 8-5 loss to Owen Sound and out of the playoffs for second straight season

Now come some very big decisions.

A very long Guelph Storm season came to an end Sunday with an 8-5 loss to the Owen Sound Attack at the Sleeman Centre.

Next on the agenda is the ultra-important OHL Priority Selection draft on April 8 and then the hiring of a new general manager.

Then there’s the players, a group with potential that needs to start showing it.

“The biggest thing is draw from the experience of this year. There’s some positives, but there’s also some things to learn,” said Storm coach Jarrod Skalde.

“It’s a case of that you have to reflect and it’s self-evaluation for everybody, from the coaching staff to the players.”

There are a lot of players on this team will be fighting for spots on the roster next season regardless of the fact they were on the team this year, Skalde said.

“That was the message for the last little bit here, that spots have to be earned next year. We’ve got to be better, we’ve got to win more hockey games and we’ve got to take that next step next year,” the coach said.

Captain Garrett McFadden said one of the positives to take out of this season was how the team stuck together through the tough times.

“Losing is frustrating. There’s a lot of emotions that come with being unsuccessful,” McFadden said.

“We were a team. You can see that on the ice and you can feel it in the dressing room. We have a really tight knit group of guys and a really talented young squad.”

The players clean out their lockers tomorrow and head home after exit interviews.

A win by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds over the London Knights earlier in the day guaranteed Owen Sound third place in the Western Conference. But they still decided to play all their top players, including goaltender Michael McNiven.

It was a 2-2 tie after one period and the Attack led 5-4 after two.

They went up 6-4 early in the third before a goal by Guelph’s Liam Hawel made it 6-5 midway through the third.

But a power play goal by Maksim Sushko restored the two goal lead with 4:14 left and then Zach Roberts scored into the empty net.

James McEwan, Matt Hotchkiss, Isaac Ratcliffe and Ryan Merkley had the other Storm goals.

There were a pair of ceremonies prior to the game, one recognizing Herbst, the Storm’s lone overage player, and the other recognizing outgoing general manager Mike Kelly, who was joined on the ice by his wife and grandchildren.

Next on the Storm calendar is the OHL Priority Selection Draft taking place April 8. Guelph picks second overall.