Seventh-place Storm outshot 84-49 over two games
By Logan Clow, Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune
The Grande Prairie Storm’s inconsistency and scoring woes continued over the weekend during a two-game homestand against the Whitecourt Wolverines.
With four key points and a chance to slide into sixth in the AJHL North Division up for grabs, the Storm surrendered a 2-0 lead on Friday and fell 4-3 in a shootout. Then, on Saturday, the Storm lost 2-1 in overtime.
The Storm picked up two points and are tied with the Drayton Valley Thunder (10-18-6) for sixth, although the Thunder have played two less games. The Wolverines, who picked up four points with the victories, now trail the Storm by two points.
“I think it just shows how tight everything is right now,” said Kevin Higo, head coach and general manager of the Storm.
“I think it was disappointing on Friday for not getting the full two points. We got off to a 2-0 lead and thought we were playing fairly well and credit to Whitecourt for coming back. Some of that was their determination and execution.”
“(Saturday), we were more grateful to get the single point. We didn’t play as well as we should of. They came out with a lot of urgency and played hard.”
Friday, Josh Zablocki and Ian McLellan opened for the scoring for the Storm five minutes apart in the first frame. The Wolverines responded with three consecutive goals, until Storm forward Ben Assad tied the game with less than three minutes remaining in regulation.
Former Storm forward Dylan Thudium scored the shootout winner. The Storm were outshot 41-28, as goaltender Logan Thompson made 38 saves.
Higo attributed the shootout loss, in part, to his squad failing to score on a seven-minute powerplay in the first period.
“If we executed at that point in time, we probably would have pushed away from them and gotten a lead we can carry and not have to go into overtime or a shootout,” he said.
On Saturday, Alex Brewer scored the game-tying goal to trigger the annual teddy bear toss. Over 1,300 bears were collected and will be donated to the the QEII Hospital. More than $2,000 was also raised for Kev’s Kids.
Wolverines forward Lance Yaremchuk was the hero in overtime. The Storm were outshot 43-21. Thompson made 41 saves for the Storm.
“We’re young and we’re inexperienced and for some of the guys, that’s their first experience playing games that really matter,” said Higo, accessing the team’s weekend performance.
The Storm will wrap their five-game homestand on Tuesday, in their final home game of 2014, against the Sherwood Park Crusaders at 7:30 p.m.
A positive for the Storm, said Higo, has been the play of goaltender Logan Thompson.
Since joining the Storm late November, the 17-year-old is 1-2-2 and has a 2.56 GAA.
“When you play well, you get to play. (It’s) definitely nothing against Liam McLeod,” said Higo.
“We went through a stage – quite a lengthy stage – it seemed like every game we were giving up one or two weak goals and since Logan has been here, we haven’t seen that at all and I think that’s the rationale for why all the games that we’ve played in have been close.”