The Storm travelled to Erie on Saturday night to take on the Otters. A tough place for Guelph to pick up two points at the best of times, Erie’s powerplay connected on three of four opportunities and each time the visitors came back, the Otters had an answer in a 7-5 victory.
The Guelph penalty kill continued to struggle in Erie. The Otters jumped on the 20th ranked penalty kill for three goals with the man advantage in the first. Guelph scored on their first powerplay, but couldn’t connect later. Erie opened the scoring on Derek Holden’s first of two. Holden scored his first on a low shot that seemed to fool St. Jacques. The Otters would double their lead to 2-0 on a Zack Torquato deflection just 2:05 later. The Storm would solve rookie goaltender Adam Wood with a deflection of their own by Tyler Carroll. Parked in front of Wood, Carroll got his stick on a Sam Lofquist shot to make it 2-1. Erie would go back on the powerplay again at 12:25 of the first and restore their two goal bulge when Holden would one time a Greg McKegg pass for his fifth of the season and second of the night. Before the end of the period, Peter Holland would cut the lead to one. The third-year centre skated hard through the neutral zone when the Erie defenceman stumbled at the blueline clearing a lane for Holland to the net. The Caledon native made no mistake firing high on Wood to make it 3-2. Shots on goal in the opening twenty were 15-8 in favour of the hosts.
Down one with two periods to play, the Storm tied the game at three just under seven minutes into the second. Connor Tresham set up the equalizer skating it into the Erie zone and finding Ben Chiarot pinching for a quick shot past Wood. After scoring twice in a row to knot the game at three, Guelph would give the two goals right back over a 2:16 span later in the second. Jeremy Gottzmann with his first of the season put Erie back in front when he redirected an Anthony Luciani shot. Moments later, McKegg was johnny on the spot when St. Jacques kicked out a big rebound on a Torquato shot giving McKegg the empty net to aim at. Taylor Beck continued his goal scoring streak with his 21st of the season on a quick shot from the slot with 2:22 remaining, but Guelph would stumble again late when Torquato jammed a loose puck past St. Jacques from beside the net.
In the final stanza, Mathew Sisca picked up his team leading 22nd with a bad angle shot that slipped between Woods’ legs, but the Otters had already notched their seventh of the contest to grab another three goal lead. Francis Menard picked up the assist on Sisca’s goal, while Luciani scored what would be an insurance marker after the Storm had a chance to clear but failed.
The Storm will board the bus immediately after the game and stop in Niagara Falls to get rested for a 2 pm start in Brampton on Sunday. Next weekend, Guelph will continue their stretch of road contests with visits to Saginaw and Sault Ste. Marie on Friday and Saturday. Then on Friday, January 15th, Guelph will return to the Sleeman Centre for a key divisional match up against the Owen Sound Attack.