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Suzuki back in the middle of things as Guelph Storm takes care of business (7 photos)

Isaac Ratcliffe leads the way with the hat trick in a 4-1 win over the Erie Otters

It was a subtle change, but one that paid immediate dividends.

Nick Suzuki, a natural centre who has been playing wing most of his time since arriving in Guelph just before the trade deadline, was moved back to the middle Friday night against the Erie Otters, playing between Isaac Ratcliffe and Nate Schnarr.

The result was a tidy 4-1 win for the Storm and two assists for Suzuki.

Ratcliffe had the hat trick and Keegan Stevenson, back after missing three games with a concussion, had the other Storm goal.

"I grew up playing centre, so I guess you could say I'm more comfortable there, but I've played a lot of wing in the OHL. I think I'm pretty good at both," said Suzuki, who has 23 points in 18 games since arriving from Owen Sound.

"I don't really have a preference. Whatever ice I can get I'm definitely going to take it," Suzuki said.

"I've played a lot of right wing, but I see myself more of a centre."

Storm coach George Burnett said Suzuki is a versatile player and Friday's move to the middle 

"When Nick's playing the game with speed it opens a lot of things up for the rest of his linemates, for sure, and it really pushes the other team's defence back," Burnett said.

"Now that we've got some healthy people I'm trying to find some combinations that I think can be strong offensively but also have good defensive posture," Burnett said.

"I know he enjoys playing centre ice and he's a real good player."

It was a neat, responsible game for the Storm.

The game was tied 1-1 after one period and it was 3-1 after two.

Other than a slow opening five minutes and a sloppy final five minutes, they were efficient, defensively sound and did the little things you need to do to be successful but have not being doing much of late.

"Apart from that (the first and last five minutes) I thought we did a lot of good things tonight," Burnett said.

"Five on five, much better. More blocks, fewer quality chances against and Poppy was really good on a handful of key opportunities that they had."

Anthony Popovich had a steady night in the Storm net, making 28 saves. They included a glove save on a third period penalty shot by Gera Poddubnyi.

Perhaps the only negative from the game was the  Storm power play, which went 0-for-5 on the night.

Guelph now hits the road for three straight road games: Saturday in Flint, Tuesday in London and Wednesday in Erie. Next home game is Friday when Windsor visits.