Second-year man Popovich ready for bigger role in Storm net

By Tony Saxon, Guelph Today

Anthony Popovich is looking forward to being the man between the pipes for the Guelph Storm this season.

Or at least the opportunity to prove he can be the man.

The 18-year-old Belleville native enters his second OHL season as the team’s incumbent starting netminder. The only other goaltender in camp is rookie Nico Daws.

Knowing that right now he is the team’s number one goalie definitely means a different thought process, Popovich said.

“I think it does. I think it gives me a bit of confidence and a bit of swagger, I guess. I just want to win for my team every night and if I’m in net, that’s good for me,” he said.

The mindset coming into camp this year was definitely different than last.

“Just be confident and be ready for more of a workload this year. Just keep working hard everyday and get more wins than last year.”

Monday at the Sleeman Centre Popovich backed the Storm to a 4-3 shootout victory over the Mississauga Steelheads, improving the team’s pre-season mark to 2-1.

Popovich made 30 saves in regulation then stopped all four Steelheads shooters in the shootout.

Storm newcomer Alexey Toropchenko was the lone shootout scorer, wristing one between the legs of Mississauga goaltender Emanuel Vella for the deciding tally.

Last year Popovich had moments of brilliance, but struggled overall, finishing with a 4.61 goals-against average and .876 save percentage.

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