From the Stands: Opening weekend

Guelph Mercury

By Paul Osborne, Guelph Mercury

The opening weekend didn’t go exactly as the Guelph Storm had envisioned, picking up one of a possible four points with a 4-3 loss in a shootout at home to Sarnia and a 4-0 loss on the road in Windsor Sunday. General manager and head coach George Burnett isn’t disheartened, but does feel the lack of wins helped shed light on where the team needs to improve.

“What I saw (Sunday) concerned me,” he said, “We were playing a team off to a good start with three wins and a bunch of kids in the line-up, and we were clearly outworked.  I never thought we’d go right out and win a championship but now we know we have to be a group that is willing to put the work in.”

Burnett knows he is still without three of his top forwards (Givani Smith, ankle, Nate Schnarr, shoulder, and James McEwan, AHL training camp), but he sees upgrades necessary in how they go about their business.

“We played Windsor like we were waiting for something bad to happen,” he said.  “We need to warm up better, we need to practice better.  Those are good habits of winning teams and we need to improve in those areas and make believers of this group.”

You often hear the cliché that teams need to “learn how to win” and after two seasons of finishing second last and dead last, this may indeed be Burnett’s biggest challenge early on.

“I don’t want to talk too much about the last two years, but we need to park those negative things, respond as a group and not sag when things get tough,” he said.  “You control your attitude and work habits.  Process and details are necessary.  It’s not about a system or style of play, we are encouraging creativity, but we have to be a whole lot more determined and more difficult to play against.”

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