Play­ing big

Storm needs clutch per­for­mances from its front line tonight

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - THE GUARDIAN BASE­BALL A look at the Is­land Storm’s up­com­ing games. 7 p.m. - Storm at Hal­i­fax Hur­ri­canes 7 p.m. - Storm at Saint John Mill Rats. 2 p.m. - Saint John Mill Rats at Storm. 7 p.m. - Wind­sor Ex­press at Storm. 7 p.m. - Ni­a­gara River Li­ons at Sto

A banged-up Is­land Storm team hits the road to­day for Hal­i­fax.

They play the Hur­ri­canes at 7 p.m. in Na­tional Bas­ket­ball League of Canada play in the first of three games in four days.

The Storm placed cen­tre Paul Cooper on the in­jured re­serve with a scratched cornea on Sun­day while power for­ward Brian Ad­di­son is suf­fer­ing from back spasms and is doubt­ful for tonight’s game.

“It’s prob­a­bly two of the last couple of guys we want to be los­ing,” said head coach Joe Salerno. “Hal­i­fax is really strong up front.”

It means the Storm’s start­ing power for­ward and cen­tre will be key to tonight’s out­come.

“Mike Martin and Nick Evans, they really have to per­form,” Salerno said. “They have to play smart and stay out of foul trou­ble.”

It also means Robert Nort­mann will likely see more min­utes and An­dre Malone will have to play some at the power for­ward po­si­tion.

“Guys are go­ing to have to play big­ger,” Salerno said.

Salerno said Brent Jen­nings is deal­ing with a lower-body in­jury, but he is hope­ful the wing can play. Rashad Whack is ex­pected to play af­ter miss­ing a few games with a ham­string in­jury.

Gary Gib­son has re­turned to the Storm’s ac­tive ros­ter af­ter miss­ing the start of the sea­son with an an­kle in­jury.

The in­juries have cre­ated some ad­ver­sity for the Storm in the first few weeks of the new sea­son. The Storm plays 11 games in Jan­uary.

“I look for­ward to see­ing our full ros­ter on the court,” Salerno said.

The Storm (2-3) is in third place in the four-team At­lantic Di­vi­sion, while the Hur­ri­canes (5-1) are in first place.

Hal­i­fax won the first game be­tween the two teams 115-112 on New Year’s Eve in Char­lot­te­town.

The Storm’s top-three scor­ers this sea­son are Brent Jen­nings (20.6), Mal­colm Grant (17.8) and Mike Martin (17.2) while Mike Glover (22), Justin John­son (19.7) and Shane Gib­son (18) lead the Hur­ri­canes.

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