From the Stands: Nice bounce back weekend for the Storm

By Paul Osborne, Guelph Mercury Tribune

What a difference a week can make.

After losing their first two games of the season the Guelph Storm bounced back with two straight wins this past weekend downing Oshawa at home 5-4 Friday night, then defeating Saginaw on the road, 6-3 on Saturday.

New import player Alexey Toropchenko has emerged as the early scoring leader with four goals and four assists in his first four games.  The lanky winger has shown quick hands in the slot, burying many of his best opportunities with deadly accuracy.  Toropchenko, a fourth round pick of the St. Louis Blues in June, has shown great offensive instincts and skates well for his 6-foot-4 size.

“There was some concern with his skating heading into the NHL draft but I haven’t seen that,” said Storm coach and general manager George Burnett. “He is strong in traffic and has shown separation capabilities from defenders and isn’t afraid to the take the puck to the tough areas on the ice.  I think someone (in St. Louis) might be smiling pretty good right now about their fourth round pick.”

The young Russian has played most the preseason and the first four games of the regular season with linemates Isaac Ratcliffe and rookie Cam Hillis and they seem to have generated some good chemistry.

“They all bring something different to the table,” said the coach.  “Hillis has the good speed and Ratty brings size and strength and has been skating well.”

In order to draft Toropchenko the Storm had to release import forward Albert Michnac who played quite well for the Storm last season. The Mississauga Steelheads then drafted Michnac.“When you are picking 4th overall (in the Import Draft), we had to be sure, especially having a player in the mix that was good and is now back in the league (Michnac),” said Burnett. “But Alexey has been great.  He is always smiling, it’s please and thank-you, and yes sir, no sir and he has been eager to learn English.”

Eight points in four games would put a smile on anyone’s face.

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