Storm downed by Steelheads in preseason opener
GUELPH – The Guelph Storm surrendered a pair of third-period goals as they were handed a 3-1 setback by the Mississauga Steelheads in their Ontario Hockey League preseason opener Saturday night at the Sleeman Centre.
The game was the Storm’s first against an OHL opponent since a 7-4 loss to the Kitchener Rangers at the Sleeman Centre on March 11, 2020. The remainder of the Storm’s 2019-20 regular season and playoffs were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic as was the entire 2020-21 season.
Steelheads 3 Storm 1
Each of Saturday’s three periods featured a goal within the first minute and a half.
Zander Veccia scored 1:17 into the game for Mississauga.
Matthew Papais pulled the Storm even 51 seconds into the second period. Cooper Walker assisted on the goal.
William Portokalis put Mississauga ahead for good at 1:22 of the third period.
Aidan Prueter added an insurance goal on a power play for the Steelheads at 13:33 of the third.
Mississauga outshot the Storm 21-18 and went 1-for-3 on its power play while the locals were scoreless on their three power plays.
In the Guelph net, Jacob Oster yielded a goal on seven shots in the first half of the game while Dixon Grimes gave up two goals on 14 shots in the second half.
Joe Ranger played the entire game in net for Mississauga.
Of the 20 players in the Storm lineup, seven had prior playing time with the Storm in OHL regular-season games with most of that experience being in the 2019-20 campaign. They were forwards Ben McFarlane (67 games including 13 in 2018-19), Papais (65 games including 12 in 2018-19), Danny Zhilkin (60 games), Jacob Maillet (51 games), Walker (45 games) and Braeden Bowman (2 games) and defenceman Luka Profaca (62 games including 13 in 2018-19).
Mississauga had 10 players in its lineup with prior OHL regular-season experience: forwards Prueter (184 games including 66 in 2018-19 and 63 in 2017-18), James Hardie (121 games including 62 in 2018-19), Portokalis (116 games including 55 in 2018-19), Ty Collins (107 games including 48 with the Storm in 2018-19), Max Dodig (58 games) and Michael Stubbs (40 games), defencemen Charlie Callaghan (93 games including 49 in 2018-19), Ethan Del Mastro (57 games) and Chas Sharpe (29 games) and goalie Ranger (26 games including 15 in 2018-19).
The game was the first of six on the Storm’s preseason schedule including the first of four between the two teams. They’re also to play Sept. 12 at 2 p.m. at Mississauga’s Paramount Fine Foods Centre, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. at Mississauga and Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the Sleeman Centre.
The other two preseason games for the Storm are against the Niagara IceDogs Sept. 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the Sleeman Centre and Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines.
The Steelheads and IceDogs are not regular-season opponents of the Storm this season as all of the Storm’s regular-season opponents are Western Conference teams and both Mississauga and Niagara are in the Eastern Conference.
The Storm are to open their regular season with back-to-back games against the Kitchener Rangers – Oct. 8 at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium starting at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 9 at the Sleeman Centre at 7 p.m.
- Guelph Sports Journal