Powerful debut for brand new Guelph Storm coach
Chad Wiseman learned one of his new not-so-fun responsibilities Friday night: trying to explain a tough loss.
The Storm squandered an early 2-0 lead before 3,900 at the Sleeman Centre, losing for the third straight game to start the season, 5-3 to the Flint Firebirds.
Wiseman, who has been with the team for four seasons as an assistant and associate coach, took over the head coaching reigns earlier this week when Scott Walker had to step down due to health reasons.
“Obviously it’s really unfortunate circumstances,” said Wiseman, a 41-year-old Burlington native who was an OHL all-star as a player before embarking on a 12-year pro career that included 10 games in the NHL with the San Jose Sharks and New York Rangers.
“My relationship with Scott is pretty strong and I found out Tuesday morning. It’s been a hectic week, not a lot of changes, just a few different approaches on a few things.
“It’s going to take a little bit of time, but we’ll get through this weekend then we’ll regroup and start going over some things.”
Wiseman obviously has aspirations in the coaching profession, but it was difficult circumstances to get his first OHL head coaching job.
“It’s not the way you want any promotion in any career in life. It’s going to take a few days to get over it and get settled in.”
Wiseman said don’t expect any drastic changes. He and the players are familiar with one another and directly the team has been built by GM George Burnett, Walker and Wiseman over the past few years.
“I’m a fair coach but I’ll hold them accountable. I’ll also celebrate success with them when they do things well.
“There’s not going to be drastic changes. There’s always going to be tweaks and you want to put your own stamp on things.”
Guelph lead 2-0 after one period on goals by Braeden Bowman and Sasha Pastujov and took a 3-2 lead into the third thanks to a successful Danny Zhilkin penalty shot.
But poor defensive play by the forwards resulted in Flint tying it up 3-3 early in the third, then the winning goal came off the stick of Riley Piercey after Storm defenseman Cam Allen coughed up the puck in front of his own net.
The Storm pulled goaltender Jacob Oster with 2:30 left in the third and came close to tying it up on several occasions before Flint’s Piercey iced it with an empty net goal.
“We came out hard and had a good first period … but our habits just kind of fell apart about halfway through the second and that carried over into the third.
“I thought we played on the wrong side of the puck, we were cheating when they tied it up and got down by only one and we started giving up two on ones.”
The Storm is still without overage defender Luka Profaca, who remains at the training camp of the AHL’s San DIego Gulls. The team expects to hear something Sunday or Monday about when/if Profaca will return to junior.
Guelph hits the road Saturday for a game against the Niagara IceDogs. Next home game is Friday against the Saginaw Spirit.