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Not-so-special teams sink Guelph Storm

Team also finds out last year's top scorer is out several weeks with broken jaw

The Guelph Storm got done in by special teams at the Sleeman Centre Sunday.

Missing two key pieces of their own power play and penalty killing units, the Storm gave up two power play goals and two shorthanded goals in a 5-2 loss to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

The fifth goal came into an empty net.

“I would call it that we beat them five-on-five, especially in the second and third period. But it’s tough when the power play doesn’t click, especially at home,” Storm defenceman Noah Carroll said.

Guelph went 0-for-4 with the man advantage. The Soo 2-for-7.

“Unnecessary penalties and if you put that team on the power play you’re in trouble,” Storm coach Jarrod Skalde said.

“You have to give them credit, they’re a very good team, but we have to be better.”

Most frustrating to Skalde is where the penalties are occurring.

“The offensive zone stuff: We’ve talked about it, we’ve addressed it and tonight we had three or four in the offensive zone. Just unnecessary penalties in the offensive zone,” the Storm coach said.

Guelph is missing a pair of players who are important cogs in its special teams units.

Ryan Merkley, a key cog in the team’s power play success in the early going, is away at the World Under-17 Challenge.

James McEwan, the team’s leading scorer last season and a member of both the power play and penalty killing units, suffered a broken jaw in Friday’s win over the Owen Sound Attack and is expected to be out of the lineup a minimum of four weeks.

“Absolutely we miss him,” Carroll said. “I’m not saying he’s a one-man unit, but he can control the play and set the tone for our power play, control the puck and settle it down when we need to settle it down.”

Then there were the two shorthanded goals.

“That’s not acceptable. That’s the power play unit out there, you’ve got to earn to be out there. It’s unacceptable and all the guys on the team know that,” Carroll said.

The first period ended with the Hounds up 3-1 thanks to a pair of power play goals and a shorthanded effort.

Albert Michnac scored for the Storm.

After a scoreless second, the Soo went up 4-1 when Bobby MacIntyre took advantage of a blown tire by Storm defenceman Garrett McFadden, scoring a shorthanded breakaway just 17 seconds into the third period.

Cedric Ralph’s second of the season invoked the faint hope clause for the Storm with 8:35 left, but the Storm couldn’t get any closer.

Liam Herbst made 28 saves in the Storm net and Matthew Villalta had 30 for the Greyhounds.

Skalde said the team has played a lot of hockey lately and he will give them Monday off.

Guelph travels to Erie to face the Otters in a school day 11 a.m. game on Wednesday. Next weekend they are in Ottawa and Kingston. Next home game isn’t until Nov. 11.


Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 20 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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