As the puck dropped at 7pm local time at the Sleeman Centre in Guelph, it was midnight back in Liam Kirk’s home country, England.
Holding his own at training camp paid off for Kirk, putting firmly to bed any rumours that he may not adapt to the OHL as everyone hoped. He showed speed, noticeable skill, and the main criticism to his game right now is his wiry frame. You can find our full report on Kirk’s camp here.
Liam Kirk played on Peterborough’s top line to the left of Paquette and Denault, and the second power play unit with Gogolev, Supryka, Robertson and Cermak as the Petes went head to head with the Guelph Storm in a pre-season clash.
Kirk was noticeable in this game for carrying the puck, including a moment in the second period where he out-bodied one of Guelph’s attackers while playing in his own zone. He took his share of wristers from the slot but ultimately came up blank.
Guelph proved themselves a tough side to play against, and their power play was dangerous, capitalising on lapses in coverage and even the slightest mistake made by Peterborough’s penalty killing units.
Guelph netted two in the first period, one of which on the man advantage. The first period saw the possession seem fairly even before tilting heavily in the favour of Guelph in the start of the second. The Storm buried another two in the second period, their third early in the period followed by the fourth tally on the power play.
The Petes finally got on the board with a power play goal from McNamara a little past half way in the second, finally being rewarded after spending much of the period out-shooting the Storm.
Kirk picked up an assist on a goal by Paquette, as the centre knocked in a loose puck with 4:48 left in the second, cutting the Storm’s lead in half by the end of the second.
The third period was fast paced and soon enough the Petes found themselves on the penalty kill but quickly killed it off with the help of some great netminding from Tye Austin. Kirk again had a great run of possession, weaving between white jerseys to deftly control the puck for a good chunk of time in the offensive zone.
Another successful penalty kill for the Petes followed as they continued to outshoot the opposing Storm, and they almost converted on a chance late in the third by Gogolev, stopped in it’s tracks as Guelph’s net came off it’s moorings.
Unfortunately, after failing to capitalise on a late power play, Bertuzzi of Guelph squeaked the puck past Austin to make the game 5-2 in favour of the Storm with just over a minute remaining, and the score remained that way until the end.
Kirk had his chances to net a goal of his own but ended the game with an assist. His play with the puck was efficient and he showed an impressive ability to switch on the wheels as he wove through Guelph’s defense. He’s great at carrying the puck in and supporting drives to the net, so it looks like it’s just a matter of time before he scores.
Feature image credit: AZCentral