Young Storm squad shutout against defending champs

Special teams were the difference Friday night as the Guelph Storm opened their 25th anniversary season with a 3-0 loss at the hands of the defending OHL and Memorial Cup Champion Oshawa Generals in front of 4,331 at the Sleeman Centre.

After a pre game ceremony honouring 25 years of Storm hockey that featured former players Chris Madden, Brian Willsie and Sylvain Cloutier, the two teams skated through a scoreless first period that only saw six shots on goal a piece in a period that very much felt like the first one of the season.

However it only took 2:35 into the middle frame before Kenny Huether managed to fire the eventual winner past Justin Nichols on the power play as Oshawa drew first blood.

Just 5:04 later the Generals struck again on the power play as Memorial Cup overtime hero Anthony Cirelli managed to find an open Lukas Lofquist at the bottom of the right circle. Lofquist had nothing but a gaping cage to fire his first career goal into as Oshawa took the lead by a pair.

While Oshawa took control during special teams play the Storm defence managed to hold Oshawa’s dangerous scoring chances to a minimum during even strength play. Not only would newly named captain CJ Garcia lead the way defensively he led the way offensively for the Storm with a team high five shots on goal, a stat finally being tracked by the league this season.

Guelph could never find what it took offensively to score on this night as the Storm never seemed to gain any sustained pressure in the Generals zone, even during their three power play opportunities on the evening.

New comers Isaac Ratcliffe, Nicholas Sicoly and imports Vladislav Barulin and Timo Haussener enjoyed fairly decent debuts with some minor scoring chances on a night where Storm head coach Bill Stewart called out the veteran forwards for their lackadaisical play.

Second year forward James McEwan drew praise from his coach for a fairly solid game that saw some very solid hits.

In the end the Storm would be buried by one final power play marker from the Generals at 18:57 of the third period when Owen McDade rounded out the 3-0 score.

Jeremy Brodeur would enjoy an overall easy 23 save shutout for the win while Justin Nichols stopped 26 of 29 Oshawa shots in the loss.

The Storm won’t have time to dwell on their opening night loss however as they hit the road for the first time in the 2015-16 regular season when they take on the Owen Sound Attack Saturday night at the Bayshore Community Centre for a 7:30 puck drop.

The Storm will return to the Royal City on Friday, October 2nd to take on the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds to try and earn some revenge on the team that ousted them in the 2015 OHL playoffs.