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Lucky Leo lights it up as Guelph Storm opens season in style

Guelph Storm starts the season with a 4-2 win on home ice over the Owen Sound Attack

Leo Serlin agrees that he should probably be buying some lottery tickets on his way home from the Sleeman Centre Friday night.

The 17-year-old Guelph Storm rookie had lady luck on his side Friday night on a pair of goals that fuelled the Storm to a 4-2 season-opening win over the Owen Sound Attack.

The first came when an Owen Sound defender changed direction abruptly on his way out of the Attack zone, running into the referee who had been trailing the play and coughing up the puck to Serlin, who made a nice move in tight for his first OHL goal.

The second came in the second period, when an Attack defenceman attempting to clear the puck shot it off Serlin's skate, redirecting past a startled Corbin Votary in the Owen Sound net.

"Got a little bit lucky on the first one ... the second one was right place at the right time. That one was a little bit better, that one I actually got to put in. I got pretty lucky, but I'm not complaining," said Serlin after the win.

"Just work hard for your opportunities and they came to me today. Just glad I could capitalize," said Serlin.

"The nerves kind of set in just before warm-up, but it was good to get out there and buzz around with the boys a little bit. After the first shift they seemed to calm down a little bit.

"Once the nerves are gone you're not gripping your stick too hard and that's when you play your best.

Serlin was a fifth round pick of the Storm in 2022 and spent last season playing tier II hockey in Haliburton, scoring 10 goals in 49 games. Signed before training camp, the Toronto native had a strong pre-season, scoring three times.

Braeden Bowman and Michael Buchinger had the Storm's other goals and Brayden Gillespie was very strong in net, making 34 saves.

Deni Goure had both Attack goals.

Both teams were missing their top players, with Guelph's Matt Poitras and Owen Sound's Colby Barlow both still at NHL training camps.

"It got a little cleaner in the second and third periods, but it was a little sloppy in the first for both teams," said Storm coach Chad Wiseman.

"It's to be expected in the first game of the year, with nerves, anxiousness, excitement and misplaced energy. But I thought we did a much better job in the second half of the game.

"It's like that every year. Especially for the young guys. I mean there's 5,000 people screaming and it's your first game and even if it's not your first game it's still the first game of the season."

Wiseman said the team's decision making got better as the game wore on and the team did a good job of killing all five Owen Sound power plays.

"We did a real nice job. Our down-ice pressure was good, our shift changes were good and we stayed fresh."

Storm rookie defenceman Rylan Singh left Friday's game after taking a shoulder to the head on his first OHL shift behind the Storm net. He skated off under his own power but didn't return to the game. Singh remained at the rink but his status wasn't immediately known after the game.

Guelph plays in Windsor Saturday night. Next home game is Friday when the Erie Otters visit.


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Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 30 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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