Game Slips Away In Seconds

Twenty-two seconds!

That's all it took to turn a nail-biter into a ho-hummer for the Fort McMurray Oil Barons on Saturday night in Revolution Arena.

The first place MOB, ahead by just one goal and fresh off killing off a Grande Prairie Storm penalty – that included a highlight reel save by netminder Eric Szudor – scored at 9:58 of the second period and then again at 10:20 turning a 2-1 close contest into three-goal spread en route to a 4-1 win.

The loss was the eighth in a row for the Storm, who now find themselves tied for sixth place in the Alberta Junior Hockey League North Division standings with the Drayton Valley Thunder. The Thunder upset the Spruce Grove Saints 4-2 in Spruce Grove Saturday.

The Lloydminster Bobcats stayed in the hunt for the final playoff spot with a 4-2 win over the Olds Grizzlys. The Bobcats are just three back of the Storm and Thunder with 27 points.

It now sets up a huge weekend for the Storm with games in Drayton Valley Thursday and Lloydminster Friday and Saturday. The Thunder and Bobcats have nine games remaining and the Storm seven.

The Storm are no doubt happy to see the last of the MOB for this regular season. The oilsands city club went 6-0 against the Storm allowing just four goals in those six contests.

 The Storm, down 2-0 on powerplay goals (Shane Fraser and Taner Miller) in the first half of the first, fought back to make it 2-1 when Conner Blake scored at 14:08.

With the MOB's Matteo Aiello in the box for tripping early in the second the Storm went on the PP hoping to tie things up.

The visitors got the huge save from Szudor to keep their lead and then followed that up with an amazing solo effort from Curtis Roach who went through the GP defence and beat netminder Eric Weersink to make it 3-1. And then 22 seconds later on the odd-man rush Brandon Ralph snapped one home from the slot to spread the lead to 4-1 and round out the scoring.

Weersink was replaced by Xavier Burghardt who was unbeatable facing 17 shots. Weerink had faced 18 while Szudor had to handle just 16.

A nice crowd of 1,310 showed up for the game helping keep the Storm attendance for the season well over 1,000 per game.

After the big road trip to Drayton and Lloydminster the Storm return home to host the Sherwood Park Crusaders Feb. 24-25.