The month of January has not been kind to the Guelph Storm, and this past weekend was no exception. The Storm lost all three games last weekend and continue to slide in the Western Conference standings.
After Friday’s 4-1 loss to the Attack, they decided to have a players-only meeting. Although after that the weekend didn’t get any better.
On Saturday, the Storm fell 6-3 to rival Kitchener. On Sunday they were looking for revenge. Things seemed promising after they jumped out to a 3-0 lead against the Rangers. But, it wasn’t long before that too went sideways as Kitchener eventually won 5-4.
Tending the Twine
One of the key factors for the Storm has been the loss of Nico Daws. While he was at World Juniors, the Storm held their own. But, when he returned to league action on Friday, January 10th, the 67s handed him a 9-6 loss, followed by another 3-1 loss the following day to the Frontenacs. He hasn’t played since.
Daws was supposed to play in the Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game last Thursday but was a late scratch with an upper-body injury. It was later established that Daws suffered an oblique injury that kept him out of the lineup all weekend. The Storm is hopeful he will return to game action next weekend for their home-and-home with Flint.
Daws is having a tremendous season, and with him out of the lineup, it’s a big hole to fill. He leads the league with a 2.21 GAA, and a 0.935 save percentage. Those incredible numbers describe just how integral he is to the success of the Storm this season.
With Daws out of the lineup, it puts a lot of pressure on rookie goaltender Owen Bennett. This isn’t to say that Bennett isn’t a capable goalie, because he is, but the workload for a backup, who hasn’t had to start too many games this season, has increased significantly. Bennett’s numbers this season are not the same as Daws, which is to be expected. He has a 3.76 GAA, and a 0.886 save percentage in 22 games. Bennett has done a decent job holding down the crease in Daws’ absence, but the Storm really needs their starter back.
Slipping and Sliding Storm
At the start of the month, the Storm was first in the West. Oh, how times have changed.
The Storm has now lost seven straight games, while their opponents have been winning games in bunches. They have a lot of work to do in the next few months to get back into the thick of the playoff race in the West.
Kitchener has been on a tear for the last month. They haven’t lost in regulation since December 20th, picking up points in 12 straight games, and winning 20 of their last 23 games. This has catapulted them to first place in the West, and they don’t appear to be slowing down any time soon. The three other teams ahead of them are also hot right now. The Spitfires are 8-1-1 in their last 10, the Spirit is 7-3-0, and the Knights are 8-2-0.
The Storm needs to turn the ship around fast, or they’re going to be left in the dust of their Western competitors.
Flint vs. Guelph – Friday, January 24th @ 7:30 pm at Sleeman Centre
Guelph at Flint – Saturday, January 25th @ 7:00 pm at Dort Federal Event Center
Guelph at London – Sunday, January 26th @ 2:00 pm at Budweiser Gardens