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Storm powerplay need a boost

By Tony Saxon, Guelph Mercury

The numbers don’t lie and, according to those numbers, the Guelph Storm’s power play sucks.

Ranked 17th out of 20 in the Ontario Hockey League, operating at a 17.1 per cent success rate, 10 for 61 in the last 10 games, including a miserable 1-for-9 showing in Kitchener on Tuesday.

With those kinds of numbers it’s a wonder the Storm is still in the hunt for home-ice advantage when it kicks off a three-games-in-three-days weekend by hosting the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds Friday at the Sleeman Centre.

Saturday night the Saginaw Spirit visits, then Sunday afternoon the Storm play in Sarnia.

“You don’t have to tell me how bad our power play is, I know,” Storm coach Scott Walker said Thursday at practice, where once again the team spent plenty of time working on power play drills.

Walker said the return of Matt Finn (pictured) to the fold will help the power play, but he firmly believes that the players on the power play unit aren’t the issue.

“If we played on the power play with the same sense of urgency that we did when we’re five on five, I think the power play would be a lot better,” Walker said. “But guys think you don’t have to work as hard because you have the man advantage. Meanwhile, the team killing the penalty is working twice as hard.”

The Sarnia Sting has the best power play in the OHL, connecting on 26 per cent of its chances. At the other end of the scale is the Peterborough Petes, who score at a 15 per cent clip. Walker has tried virtually every player on the power play at some point this season, with only sporadic success.

It’s confusing to many, because individually the Storm would appear to have the potential to have a good power play: one of the league’s top playmakers in Tanner Richard, players like Scott Kosmachuk and Brock McGinn who have a good nose for the net, and a booming shot from the point in the form of Andrey Pedan.

Yet the power play continues to be a problem.

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