They started the game and they finished the game…and in between, the six graduating veterans were a major reason why the Storm were able to end a disappointing season on a positive note.
Storm downing the Sherwood Park Crusaders 3-1 Saturday night at the Canada Games Arena, in front of their largest crowd of the season, 1982. Forwards Jordan McTaggart, Ryan Baskerville and Tyson McCallum were all playing their final game of junior hockey, as were defencemen Dalton Olsen and Drew Nikirk, plus goaltender Nick Kulmanovsky.
Kulmanovsky ended up being the number one star, blocking 28 of the 29 shots fired his way. Olsen assisted on all three goals to earn second star status, while McTaggart—who had an assist and a scrappy fight—was third. McTaggart also picking up the Brian Nash Memorial Award in a pre-game ceremony for his leadership with the Storm this season.
Sasha Laroque, Blake Bosch and Baskerville had the goals for Grande Prairie, which trailed 1-0 after one and was tied at 1-1 through two. Storm powerplay also clicked for two goals on five opportunities, while shutting the Crusaders down on all five of their chances.
Despite knowing they won't qualify for the playoffs for the first time in club history, coach Matt Hughes was impressed by the way his club responded.
“I thought we were a bit sleepy in the first period, but really came on after that. Our veterans led the way for us tonight, which is exactly the type of leadership you'd expect from them.”
The only thing now remaining on the team's calendar for the 2013-14 season is the annual awards banquet, which is set for Tuesday night. It's open to the public, with tickets still available.
– Story by Don Whiteford of www.PeaceCountrySports.com.