The Storm began the post-Christmas schedule on Thursday night with a 3-1 win over the visiting Erie Otters at the Sleeman Centre.
Michael Buchinger got Guelph on the board with his ninth goal of the season on the power play.
That was followed by Charlie Paquette’s 10th of the season, putting the Storm up 2-0.
The Storm (20-12-1-1) had 11 days off prior to Thursday’s game.
“I think we probably came here thinking we’ll be tired, heavy legs,” Paquette said. “But we stuck to our game plan, wanted to keep our going and it worked.”
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With three seconds left in the opening period, Erie’s (14-12-4-0) Spencer Sova managed to sneak one past Guelph netminder Brayden Gillespie and cut the Storm’s lead down to 2-1.
The Storm had to fight off some penalty trouble in the first period and fought off their opponents in the third. Despite being shorthanded six times in the game, Guelph did not allow Erie to score. The Storm, meanwhile, went one-for-four with the man advantage.
“It was all eight guys going, all units, guys filling in for different people,” Storm defenceman Tommy Budnick said. “Great fight from (Ryan McGuire), great fight from (Buchinger). Those are the ones that we will definitely kill off and will bond together as a team.”
The fight involving Buchinger was after Gillespie (28 saves) lost his catching glove late in the third period. As he was about to pick up the glove, Otters forward Sam Alfano tossed it into the corner with his stick. Alfano was given an interference penalty in addition to the fighting major.
Ben Gaudreau made 21 saves in net for the Otters, including one on a penalty shot by Guelph’s Jeff Luchanko in the third.
The Storm wrap up 2023 with road games in Flint on Saturday and in St. Catharines on Sunday. Both games can be heard on 1640 CJOY.
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