Kyle Locke was a little more noticeable than usual Friday night.
The rookie Guelph Storm defenceman has made a habit of playing a quiet, steady defensive game thus far in his young OHL career. And that’s a good thing.
But Locke found himself on the score sheet twice Friday, both assists in a 4-1 pre-season win over the Barrie Colts at the Sleeman Centre.
“My first season, I just want to be responsible in the back end,” said Locke, the Storm’s second round draft pick last April. “As my career progresses, I want to get more offensive, but for now I just worry about defence.”
Physically mature at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, Locke is quickly catching on to the pace and size difference at the OHL level.
“In minor midget you could hold on to the puck longer, but things happen a lot quicker here,” he said.
Knowing they were losing two defencemen off last year’s team, Storm brass went into the draft looking for a blue-liner who could step in and play significant minutes right away.
They think they found that in Locke.
“Unfortunately for him, we expect a lot from him right away,” coach Scott Walker said.
“We wanted to draft an OHL-ready guy. He’s only 16, but he’s on a defence where he has to play a lot and learn on the fly.”
Walker said defence is probably the toughest position to play in the OHL, particularly for first-year players, but he has been pleased with what he has seen from Locke so far.
“He’s OHL ready man-wise, now we just have to get him a little confidence,” Walker said.
The Storm scored three unanswered goals in the third period Friday night to improve to 2-1 on the pre-season.
A first period goal by Spencer Turcotte made it 1-0 Guelph after 20 minutes. Barrie’s Ryan O’Connor tied the game early in the second.
Hunter Garlent tipped a Locke wrist shot from the point past Barrie netminder Alex Fortinos at 8:29 of the third, then Zack Mitchell did the same to a Daniel Poliziani point shot 94 seconds later for the eventual winner.