Clawed by the ‘Cats

“We dug our own grave and ultimately, we got what we deserved this night.”

Grande Prairie Storm coach Matt Hughes summed up his team's performance Friday night at the Canada Games Arena with those words.  Storm falling behind 2-0 barely over four minutes into the game and ended up losing 3-2 to the Lloydminster Bobcats.

The 'Cats scored on their first shot of the game, as the normally solid Nick Kulmanovsky allowed a sharp angle shot to fool him.  When the visitors scored again, on the powerplay, just a couple minutes later, it put the Storm in a hole of which they weren't able to ever dig themselves out.

Landon Gross did manage to get one goal back for Grande Prairie before the first period came to a close.  However, an early second period marker by former Storm forward Nolan Yaremchuk restored Lloydminster's two-goal lead.

Storm thought they had great momentum going into the third period, as Tyler Haiste's wrist shot made it through a maze of players and into the top corner of the net with just eleven seconds left in the middle frame.  Not only that, but the Bobcats took a roughing penalty at the siren, giving the home side a full two minute powerplay to start the final period.

Storm coach Matt Hughes said failing to score on the ensuing powerplay took the wind out of the club's sails.

“For some reason, starting a period with a two-minute powerplay never seems to pan out, even at the NHL level.  I don't know why that is, but we were flat with the man advantage and it seemed to carry over afterwards.”

In fact, the powerplay continues to be ice cold for the Storm early this AJHL season, as they went scoreless in four opportunities.  The Bobcats also had the man advantage on four occasions, tallying the one time.

The loss was the first on home ice for Grande Prairie, as the club's record drops back to the 500 mark, at 3-3.  Lloydminster improves to 2-3 on the year.

The two clubs meet again Saturday night at the Canada Games Arena.  Gametime is 7:30.

Story by Don Whiteford of