Storm needs strong post defence tonight against new-look Halifax squad

Jason Malloy
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Mike Martin

A battle in the paint is expected tonight when the Halifax Hurricanes blow into the Eastlink Centre to play the Island Storm.

Game time is 7 p.m. for the annual New Year’s Eve contest.

Two of the Hurricanes top-three scorers are six-foot-seven, 215-pound forward Mike Glover and six-foot-10, 229-pound centre Kyle Hunt.

“Their entire offence will run through the post,” Storm head coach Joe Salerno said. “They’re both very capable of scoring the ball and they rebound it very well. They’re very strong and athletic.”

It means the Storm will be looking for strong contributions from some of its bigs, including centre Nick Evans and forwards Mike Martin and Brian Addison.

“We need them to have a big game tomorrow,” Salerno said Wednesday.

The Storm’s power forwards can stretch the floor with their outside shooting ability. The team likes to get out and run, but it doesn’t expect to be able to get Halifax into a running game.

“It’s difficult to make them adjust their style, you have to be able to defend it,” Salerno said.

He added the Hurricanes have good guard play from Shane Gibson and Negus Webster-Chan.

The Hurricanes, which only has one player (Clifford Clinkscales) from last year’s Halifax Rainmen squad, enter the game 2-1 while the Storm is 1-1 and starting a stretch of three games in four days.

The Storm was expected to activate Canadian point guard Gary Gibson from the injured reserve late Wednesday night. He has been out since early in training camp with an ankle injury. Salerno said Gibson would be a game-day decision for tonight’s game.

The head coach said Gibson would have a big role with the team this year, but in his absence Malcolm Grant has “been outstanding.”

Paul Cooper practised this week with the Storm. If the centre is added to the roster another non-Canadian player would have to be cut.

Wing Brent Jennings leads the Storm in scoring through two games. He was acquired in the off-season deal that sent Nick Okorie to London.

“Brent Jennings has been exactly what we thought Brent would be,” Salerno said. “I really believe he could lead the league in scoring.”

Salerno said the team has also had some nice performances from its bench players, including Addison and Terry Thomas.

The Storm will be looking to put on a better show than its home opener, when it lost 121-106 to the Saint John Mill Rats.

“I think the guys took it personal how many points we gave up against Saint John,” Salerno said. “They really want to have a better showing at home because they appreciate our fans.”

 

Scoring leaders

A look at the Island Storm and Halifax Hurricanes top-three scorers this season.

Hurricanes

Forward Mike Glover            21

Guard Alex Johnson              17

Centre Kyle Hunt                  16

Storm

Forward Brent Jennings       21.5

Forward Mike Martin           20.5

Guard Malcolm Grant           17

 

Upcoming Storm games

Tonight

7 p.m. – Halifax Hurricanes at Island Storm.

Saturday

7 p.m. – Island Storm at Saint John Mill Rats.

Sunday

2 p.m. – Island Storm at Moncton Miracles.

Jan. 7

7 p.m. – Island Storm at Halifax Hurricanes.

Jan. 9

7 p.m. – Island Storm at Saint John Mill Rats.

Jan. 10

2 p.m. – Saint John Mill Rats at Island Storm.

Organizations: Eastlink Centre

Geographic location: Saint John, London, Moncton

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