Controversial Loss for Storm

Was it in?

That was the question on the minds of 1507 fans Saturday night, as they filed out of the Canada Games Arena.  Grande Prairie Storm falling 2-1 to the Okotoks Oilers, after an apparent tying goal in the final few seconds was waived off by the referee.

Storm coach Matt Hughes told the FREE FM broadcast crew afterwards that the referee came over to the bench and told him he was 100% sure that the puck had hit the crossbar and not gone in.  To which, broadcast colour man Fred Rinne replied, “then the ref is 100% wrong.  We saw the puck clearly bulge the twine behind the crossbar, before coming back out of the net”.

The controversial call was just part of a crazy ending, which saw the Storm score with 14 seconds left to break the Oilers' shut out bid.  Chase Thudium had that goal while the home side was on a 6-on-4 powerplay, with the goalie pulled.

Until that point, it looked like the Oilers would cruise to victory, as they scored the lone goal of each of the first two periods and had limited Grande Prairie to only a few good scoring chances.  Despite the loss, coach Hughes wasn't disappointed with the effort of his troops.

“The Oilers are an excellent South Division team.  They're big and strong and don't give up much defensively.  We played the kind of game we're going to have to play, if we're to have success in the second half of the season.”

Storm ended up going 2-3 on this five game hometand and are 16-19-2 overall.  They now head out on the road for three games before their Christmas break.

Story by Don whiteford of