Candy week ends on bitter notice for Guelph Storm
KITCHENER – A three-win week ended on a sour note for the Guelph Storm Sunday in a 3-2 loss to the Kitchener Rangers at The Aud.
Dog-tired and missing three key defenemen due to injury and suspension, the Storm still managed to nurse a 2-1 lead into the third period, but then missed a golden chance to extend the lead on a three-minute power play to open the final frame, then watched Kitchener score a pair to pull out the victory.
Simon Motew’s one-timer from the top of the faceoff circle on the power play with one minute, 54 seconds left in regulation proved to be the winner.
The Storm played without defensemen Ashton Reesor (broken jaw), Daniil Chayka (lower body) and Michael Buchinger (first game of five-game suspension).
Top forward Danny Zhilkin was pressed into duty as a defenseman and Luka Profaca and Cam Allen once again played close to 30 minutes.
“It’s easy to complain about missing guys, and we’re asking a couple of guys to play 30-plus minutes a game in Luka and Cam and that’s not really fair. Overall some really positive things (this week),” Storm coach George Burnett said.
Jacob Oster played all four games this week.
Burnett said Reesor’s return is to be determined. He’s skating but has his jaw wired shut and has lost a lot of weight. Chayka isn’t expected back before the playoffs. Bushinger won’t return until April 1.
Overall, and considering the circumstances, the coach didn’t mind his team’s effort Sunday.
“Under the circumstances, with the people we’re missing, I thought at 2-1 we were fine but in the third period we got away from cycling and grinding down low and started turning pucks over,” the coach said.
It was a big win for the Rangers, who are tied for the seventh in the standings with the Sarnia Sting, just ahead of the Erie Otters.
“I think the key thing for us was starting the third period on the power play but we didn’t get a chance in those three minutes. There was one other power play where we didn’t get much done too,” Burnett said. “That would have been 3-1 and that’s what you need your top guys to do, go out and score and get that two-goal lead.”
Mike Petizian’s shorthanded goal gave the Rangers the early 1-0 lead.
Storm goals by Braeden Bowman and Jake Karabela, the latter on the power play, had the Stormup 2-1 after two.
Kitchener’s Jacob LeBlanc tied the game at 6:45 of the third, poling home a loose puck in the crease, before Motew’s winner late.
“I think the key thing for us was starting the third period on the power play but we didn’t get a chance in those three minutes. There was one other power play where we didn’t get much done too. That would have been 3-1 and that’s what you need your top guys to do, go out and score and get that two-goal lead.”
Guelph will host Kitchener on Friday, play in Erie Saturday then host London Sunday night.
On Wednesday Michael Buchinger, Danny Zhilkin, Matt Poitras and Jake Karabela will all be playing in the CHL Top Prospects game in Kitchener.