Down to Last Chance

A two-game winning streak.  That's what the Grande Prairie Storm now need, or their post-season will be over almost as soon as it began.

Storm are now down two games to one in their best of five opening round series against Sherwood Park, after the Crusaders doubled up on their visitors 4-2 Friday night.  There's little time to regroup either, as game four is set for Saturday evening at the Sherwood Park Arena.

Special teams, which have been a strong point lately for the Storm, instead were their downfall in this one.  The Crusaders scored on two of eight opportunities with the powerplay.  Grande Prairie, meantime, was a woeful 0-for-11 with the man advantage.

Ryan Matthews and Tanner Labbe both scored for the Storm in the first period, which ended 2-2.  After a scoreless middle frame, the turning point came eight minutes into the third.  That's when the Crusaders tallied twice in a span of 37 seconds to take a lead that was never threatened down the stretch.

Nick Kulmanovsky allowed all four goals on 32 shots, but made several strong saves, as evidenced by the fact he was named Grande Prairie's player of the game.  Overall, the Crusaders outshot their visitors 32-28.

Storm will now look for the same split that they achieved back home earlier in the week.  If they can force a game five, it will be played Monday night at 7:30 at the Canada Games Arena.

– Story by Don Whiteford of