The Whitecourt Wolverines are likely just happy not to have to return to the Grande Prairie this AJHL regular season. Three times the Wolverines have ventured north to the Canada Games Arena and three times they've come out on the short end of score.
Storm pulling out a 6-5 win Wednesday night over the Wolverines, as Ryan Baskerville scored the game winner with just over a minute and a half left in the third period. Baskerville's goal, on a lovely feed from Sasha Laroque, capped off a rollercoaster night for the Storm, who led 2-0 early, only to fall behind 5-3 by the midway mark of the second period.
Coach Blaine Bablitz was happy to see his club fight back in the final thirty minutes of the game to extend its winning streak to eleven games. He admits, though, that it wasn't exactly a work of art.
“It was definitely a weird game. Overall, we were fairly solid defensively as a team, but we had some glaring individual breakdowns which led to a few of their goals. We also had a bad bounce off the boards on which they scored their fourth goal. I did like the way we fought back and controlled the third period.”
Two goals by Tanner Labbe and a single from Marc-Etienne Drapeau had the Storm tied with Whitecourt 3-3 after the wide open first period. After the visitors went up by two in the middle frame, Mike Forsyth closed the gap to one with his tally fourteen minutes into the second. Midway through the third, Jade McMullen would score on a partial breakaway, after a beautiful alley-oop feed from Dylan Thudium, setting the stage for Baskerville's heroics.
Despite outshooting Whitecourt 12-4 in the final period, it was the Wolverines who had a chance to put the game away with a long two-man advantage to start the period. Coach Bablitz felt that killing off that 5-on-3 was the turning point in the game.
“The job by our penalty killers on that 5-on-3 was key. Our club got a huge momentum boost from killing that off, which carried over for the remainder of third.”
Despite the victory and their long winning streak, the Storm still haven't managed to catch Spruce Grove for tops in the AJHL North. The Saints seem to win every night Grande Prairie does, including a 3-1 decision over Lloydminster on Wendesday to hang on to first place by two points. Grande Prairie, however, has six games in hand.
Storm now head out for their next five games on the road, including a pair this weekend in Lloydminster. They don't return home to the Canada Games Arena until Friday, December 7th, against Sherwood Park.
– Story by Don Whiteford of www.PeaceCountrySports.com