Bandits Take One In GP

Grande Prairie Storm fans got to see a pretty good hockey club perform in Revolution Arena on Friday night.

Unfortunately it wasn't their team.

The visiting Brooks Bandits, considered one of the favorites to win the Alberta Junior Hockey League championship again this year, proved why they are looked at as contender with a 5-1 win over the Storm.

The Storm, battling the Sherwood Park Crusaders to stay in the top half of the standings, had their finger in the dike for most of the first half of the game, but once the Bandits hit the scoreboard for the first time the dam broke.

The dam-breaker was a bit of a fluky goal by Shane Bear 7:05 into the second period.

A bit of a scramble in front of the Storm net saw the puck bounce about two feet over Storm netminder Charles-Olivier Levesque's head and then into the net behind him.

That ice-breaker got the Bandits rolling and they exited the middle period up 2-0 – the second goal coming from former Storm player Carter Wolski at 10:30 – and outshot the Storm 19-6 in the period.

Nathan Plessis made it 3-0 for the Bandits at 5:42 of the third before Edouard Michaud, on the powerplay, gave the Storm some life at 9:18.

Any hopes of a comeback were snuffed out quickly.

Just 50 seconds after the Michaud goal Brandon Scanlin made it 4-1 and just over two minutes after that, at 12:11, Arnaud Vachon nailed it shut for the Bandits.

Levesque was outstanding while facing 44 shots while the Storm fired 20 at Mitchel Benson at the other end.

The win was the 18th on the road for the Bandits, who sit in second place in the South Division with 81 points. It was just the eighth home loss of the season for the Storm.

Grande Prairie's loss combined with Sherwood Park's 6-3 win over the Bonnyville Pontiacs has the Storm three points up on the Cru in the battle for fourth place.

Next action for the Storm is Monday when they travel to Whitecourt to take on the Wolverines. They return home Thursday to host the Fort McMurray Oil Barons.