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Struggling Guelph Storm veterans get the monkey off their backs (7 photos)

Key players break out of slumps in win over North Bay

Matt Hotchkiss finally got the call for an interview after Friday night’s 6-2 win over the North Bay Battalion at the Sleeman Centre.

It's been a while.

The fourth-year forward had just one goal and five points in his first 17 games this season but broke out with a solid game at both ends of the ice against North Bay, scoring once and adding two assists.

He was one of several veterans struggling of late who came up big Friday.

Isaac Ratcliffe had a pair of goals, Alexey Toropchenko had two assists and James McEwan also scored.

Nate Schnarr and Ryan Merkley, into the empty net, had the other Guelph goals.

“It was really good to get contributions out of everyone tonight,” said Hotchkiss. “We have a super deep team this year and we should be having four lines getting opportunities to score every night.

“You hope that you have balanced scoring in the lineup and it’s really nice to see some of the depth coming into play,” Hotchkiss said.

“You could just feel the bench was buzzing tonight.”

Guelph jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period and never looked back.

The closest it got after that was when it was 4-2 late in the second period.

Hotchkiss opened the scoring 56 seconds into the game.

“I think that’s super important to help take some of the other team’s energy away. That showed tonight with our first period, we got a goal early and they kind of fell on their heels a little bit,” Hotchkiss said.

North Bay coach Stan Butler thought that early goal played a key role in dictating the rest of the night.

“I think that when you’re on the road the last thing you want to do is give up a goal in the first minute, which we did,” Butler said. “Once we did that I thought we were chasing the rest of the night.”

Butler said he told his team going into the third period that if they got the next goal they had a chance, but a “pretty significant defensive miscue” led to a Storm three-on-one break and a goal by Ratcliffe.

“A couple of our D really struggled tonight (Adam Thilander and Jesse Saban were both minus-4) and it showed on the scoreboard,” Butler said.

Anthony Popovich made 33 saves for Guelph, Julian Simes 35 for North Bay.

Former Storm forward Luke Burghardt had an assist for the Battalion while Luke Moncada was pointless.

Former Battalion defenceman Mark Shoemaker was pointless but a plus-3 for Guelph.

The Storm hosts the Sudbury Wolves on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.