Crusaders Turn Tables on Storm

Eleven is obviously not a lucky number for the Grande Prairie Storm. Two weeks ago, the Storm were riding an eleven game winning streak, when they were upset by the Bobcats in Lloydminster.  Saturday night, they saw their eleven game home ice winning streak come to an end, as they were shut out 3-0 by the Sherwood Park.

For the Crusaders, turn about was fair play.  One night earlier, it was they who were on the wrong end of a shut out, falling 2-0 to the Storm.  While Nick Kulmanovsky picked up his first shut out of the year in Friday's contest, Sherwood Park's Matt Tomkins also got his first goose egg in this outing.  Tomkins was extremely sharp when called upon, making 29 saves on the night.

After going scoreless for over the first four periods of action this weekend, the Crusaders finally broke the ice with Josh Healey's powerplay marker almost eight minutes into the second period.  The Crusaders would end up going 1-for-4 on the powerplay during the game, while the Storm were blanked on five tries.

The turning point in the game, though, came just before the seventeen minute mark of the second period.  Grande Prairie's Adam Boytinck had a breakaway from his own blueline but Tomkins just got a toe on Boytinck's deke to foil the scoring chance.  Within twenty seconds, Andrew Tavener found the back of the net to put the Crusaders up 2-0 and take much of the steam out of the Storm's game for the rest of the night.  Tavener would add a short handed marker in the third to seal the deal for Sherwood Park.

The loss ends up dropping Grande Prairie still further out of first place in the AJHL North, as Spruce Grove won Saturday to move seven points ahead.  Not only that, but Bonnyville also won, moving the Pontiacs into a tie for second with the Storm.

Grande Prairie next sees action Tuesday night in Whitecourt.  After that, the Storm return home for their sixth-and-final match-up this season against Lloydminster on Friday night.  Game time is 7:30.

– Story by Don Whiteford of