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It's now a numbers game for the Guelph Storm

Still cuts to be made as team wraps up exhibition season with win over Peterborough

There are still likely three or four players to be cut from the Guelph Storm, but it might not happen for a while.

The Storm wrapped up the pre-season with a 5-3 win over the Peterborough Petes Saturday night at the Sleeman Centre and now get ready to open the regular season Friday at home versus the Sarnia Sting.

Defenceman Quinn Hanna cleared waivers and has signed with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. But that still leaves 26 players on the roster.

“There’s still probably more bodies than we’re able to satisfy,” said Burnett.

“Perfectly I’d like to carry 22 players, but I’d like to see everybody land back here (from National Hockey League camps) and there’s no guarantees (they all will),” Burnett said.

“We’re not going to rush. If it’s 23, 24 or 25 for a couple of weeks, then that’s what we’ll have to do.

“It’s not easy, because some of the guys who were on the fence a little bit coming in to camp have played pretty well. That’s good. I don’t mind making tough decisions.”

Defenceman Mark Shoemaker and forward Isaac Ratcliffe returned from their National Hockey League camps, but six players remain at NHL camps including Nate Schnarr, who might not be physically be ready to start the season.

So Burnett doesn’t want to be too hasty in cutting down the roster.

“Heaven forbid that someone you expected to come back doesn’t. That can throw a wrinkle into things pretty quickly if you act too soon,” Burnett said.

On the other hand, he wants to be fair to players who need to register in school and/or find somewhere else to play.

“We’ve tried to be fair to everybody in communicating where they’re at, where they stand and what’s expected,” Burnett said.

Ryan Merkley led the way Saturday with a goal and three assists in the win over the Petes.

Matt Hotchkiss, Ratcliffe, Liam Hawel and Barret Kirwin, with his team-leading fifth of the pre-season, had the other Storm goals.

Anthony Popovich made 27 saves in net.

Tag Bertuzzi sat out his second straight game with a hip flexor injury that isn’t considered serious and Liam Hawel returned to the lineup after recuperating from his injury.