KITCHENER — The Guelph Storm has gone from thinking it can win to believing it should win.
That growing confidence was evident Friday night as the Storm downed the Kitchener Rangers 6-3 at The Aud in the first meeting of the season between the two rivals.
That makes it five straight wins for Guelph, who sit tied for sixth in the Western Conference but just three points back of first place Flint.
"We've got to earn everything we get and I think that's what they're learning, that nothing comes easy," said assistant coach Chad Wiseman, who was handling the head coaching duties Friday as George Burnett was off scouting the Battle of the Border minor midget tournament in Sarnia.
"We have a lot of guys and we're trying to create an environment where everything we do matters: the way that we practice, the way that we take care of ourselves off the ice, the way we treat each other. It's more than the game and everyone is buying into those little things and I think that's why we're seeing some success early in the season," Wiseman said.
Guelph hadn't played in seven days and they looked a little rusty to start Friday's game as Kitchener came on strong.
But Nico Daws held the fort until the team got into a rhythm and controlled most of the play until late in the game when Kitchener pushed hard.
Kitchener scored late in the second and early in the third to make it a 4-3 game with 2:07 left in regulation, but the Storm killed off some penalties, Daws stood tall and Guelph put two into the empty net to seal the deal.
Cam Hillis had two goals and two assists to lead the Storm attack. Daniil Chayka had a pair of goals and Cedric Ralph and Josh Wainman, with his first for the Storm, had the others.
"I'm just having fun out there, there's really no secret," said Hillis, who has 21 points in his last nine games.
"That's five in a row now and nobody in that room wants to stop winning. Winning is fun and guys are enjoying that now.
"It's not just our primary scoring. Everyone is chipping in, the third line is scoring, the fourth line is doing great work. It's not just one guy or one line. Everyone's putting in the work and that's why we're having success."
Wiseman echoed Hillis's praise of the entire team.
"We had no passengers tonight, I thought everyone showed up," said Wiseman.
Guelph will host the OHL's worst team in a rare Saturday night game when the Kingston Frontenacs, winners of just one of 17 games this season, visit the Sleeman Centre in a 7 p.m. start.