Get open and Ryan Merkley will find you.
That’s starting to click in for the rest of the Guelph Storm players, as the ultra-talented rookie defenceman made three brilliant passes to set up goals in a 4-3 win over the Sarnia Sting Wednesday night at the Sleeman Centre.
They included a feed to Matt Hotchkiss in the slot with 2:11 remaining in overtime for the game winner, as Merkley circled behind the
Hotchkiss made no mistake, rifling a wrist shot short side past Sting netminder Aidan Hughes.
“I was just trying to pop out for him. He’s just got a beautiful way of making plays,” Hotchkiss said.
“Merkley is a guy that when you see him going around the net with the puck like that you know he’s going to find you if you’re open,” said Hotchkiss, who had a pair of goals on the night.
The most impressive dish of the night was a seeing-eye. against-the-grain, straight-on-the-tape feed to Albert Michnac in the second period for
“In the corner of my eye I just saw him and when both
“It’s chemistry right? We’ve got to know each other pretty well now and things are getting better and better.”
Storm coach Jarrod Skalde was as impressed as everyone else by the three assists.
“They were pretty special plays,” Skalde said.
“When he starts rolling to the right good things usually happen,” the Storm coach said of Merkley’s dishes on the night. “I think our guys, after 30-plus games, are figuring out that he’ll find you.”
Skalde felt that after a sluggish start, fuelled by penalties, the team responded well and took the play to the Sting.
Anthony Popovic also got praise for his 28-save effort in the Storm net as did Nick Deakin-Poot, who scored his first goal of the season, ending a 20-game drought.
This one was a nail biter.
Sting coach Derian Hatcher clearly wasn’t thrilled with the calls – a tripping call on Jeff King that seemed legit and a checking-from-behind call on Kevin Spinozzi that was debatable.
Hatcher gave the referees the sarcastic hand clap as they exited the ice at the end of the game.
The Storm heads north this weekend for games in