If you're scoring, it's a SH-EN-GWG. As in, a short-handed, empty net, game winning goal.
That was the difference Friday night at the Canada Games Arena, as the Storm bounced back from an early 2-0 deficit to dump the Sherwood Park Crusaders 4-3. Simon Desrosiers scoring into an empty net with 31 seconds to play, with the Storm clinging to a 3-2 lead and valiantly trying to stave off a 6-on-4 Crusader manpower advantage.
When a Crusader defenceman fell down and fumbled the puck away at the Grande Prairie blueline, Desrosiers gathered it in and raced down the wing. His shot from fifteen feet away still managed to clip the goal post on it's way in.
Coach Matt Hughes says the rest of the team had plenty of good-natured jabs for Desrosiers afterwards.
“The boys were all teasing Simon, saying he'd never skated that fast in his life, with nothing but empty net in front of him. It was a fortunate break for us, but we'll gladly take it.”
The Crusaders would end up pulling their goalie again and finally scoring on that same powerplay with just six seconds left, leaving Desrosiers' empty-netter as the difference in the score.
Before the last-minute excitement, the story of the game was the Storm's ability to bounce back from a poor start. As they've done countless times over the past few years, the Storm allowed the visitors to score on their very first shot of the game. By the end of the first period it was 2-0 Sherwood Park and starting to look like a long night to the 1423 fans in attendance.
A different Storm team roared out of the gate to start the second period, however. Dylan Thudium scored just over six minutes into the middle frame to cut the deficit in half. Then, about ten minutes later, Tyson McCallum would score a “goal of the year” candidate to tie things up—dipsy-doodling around a Crusader defender, before turning the goalie inside out and depositing the puck into an wide open cage.
Even coach Hughes had to applaud that goal.
“I wish I could say I taught him those moves. You see goals like that maybe once a year. Good for Tyson, as he's been working awfully hard to improve his game.”
McCallum wasn't done, though. His powerplay blast at 8:15 of the third put the Storm ahead for the first time on the night and looked for awhile that it would stand up as the game winner.
The two teams don't get much time to rest up. They're back at it Saturday night again, at 7:30.
– Story by Don Whiteford of www.PeaceCountrySports.com.