By Tony Saxon, Guelph Today
Other than a five-minute span of the first period, the Guelph Storm looked pretty decent in their first playoff game in three seasons .
But that five minutes – actually it was 5:25 – was an absolute nightmare as the Kitchener Rangers scored four times en route to a 7-2 victory over the Storm at The Aud in Game 1 of their best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final.
“They put it to us pretty good,” said Storm coach George Burnett. “Once they got one they pushed pretty hard and we got caught standing watching.”
Guelph did exactly what it needed to do to open the game, outplaying the Rangers for the first eight minutes, draining that early home-ice adrenaline of the home side and dulling the crowd of 6,500.
“I thought we were okay. We had a decent start and there wasn’t a lot happening,” Burnett said.
But then everything that could go wrong did go wrong: pucks deflected in off Storm skates, over-backchecking forwards leave trailing players open, a goal Anthony Popovich still hasn’t seen and a power play goal.
“I thought we weathered the storm and played well at the beginning, but you know a team with that talent is going to capitalize on opportunities and we gave them opportunities and odd-man rushes,” Storm forward Nate Schnarr said.
Anthony Popovich wasn’t particularly sharp in the first period but he could hardly be blamed for the slew of things that went wrong.
Despite allowing five goals in the period, Burnett let Popovich start the second period to regain some confidence and he ended up making some sparkling stops. Nico Daws mopped up in the third.
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