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Popovich’s time to shine

Aaron Bell/OHL Images

By Josh Brown, The Kitchener Record

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Guelph — There was a void in the crease at the Sleeman Centre.

Overage goalie Liam Herbst had graduated from the Ontario Hockey League and new Guelph Storm coach and general manager George Burnett was left with sophomore Anthony Popovich and rookie Nico Daws as options in net at training camp.

“That was certainly a position of uncertainty or a question at the start of the year,” said Burnett.

What the skipper didn’t fully realize is that Popovich had his eyes locked on the job. Being a starting netminder in the OHL has been one of his goals ever since he was a kid on the minor hockey circuit in Belleville.

“I knew that coming in that I had a pretty amazing opportunity,” said Popovich. “I just tried to do everything I could to take advantage of it.”

And the 18-year-old made good on his quest.

Popovich appeared in 60 games and played 3,416 minutes between the pipes, good for second most in the OHL. He also faced a league-high 1,998 shots while compiling a record of 29-21-4-3.

“I think he has been one of our most improved players,” said Burnett. “He has been a big part of our team making some significant progress.”

And the Storm will have to push the netminder for more if the seventh-ranked club wants to upset the second-seeded Kitchener Rangers in their western conference quarter-final, which begins Friday at the Aud.

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