It was not the prettiest of efforts to start, but it was 2 points that the Grande Prairie Storm will gladly take.
The Storm opened the home portion of their 2019-2020 schedule with a 2-1 shoot out win over the Lloydminster Bobcats.
Storm coach Matt Keillor was quick to admit that his team may have been a little nervous to start the game off.
“Out of our six or seven exhibition games, we only played one here (at home), so it was a little bit of unfamiliar territory for us. But I felt as the game went on, we got our legs and we had a lot of opportunities to score.” said Keillor. “It was just some execution problems tonight, but I felt that for the most part we carried the play.”
All of the regulation time scoring was done within the first 10 minutes of the hockey game.
20 year old Devin Sutton got the home side on the board 4:53 into the first.
However, the Bobcats responded just over two and a half minutes later, as Braydon Berthold deflected a Gunner Kinniburgh point shot on the powerplay.
After that it was the goaltender’s turn to shine, as Josh Dias – in his first game with the Bobcats since being acquired from Fort McMurray – made 36 saves.
His counterpart at the opposite end, the Storm’s Lars Kaliel, made 28 saves en route to his second win of the season, while dropping his Goals Against Average on the season to a miniscule 0.96.
Keillor had high praise for both netminders after the game.
” Kudos to Dias, he played a fantastic game. He made some really big saves including a couple back door stops. I thought that Lars was fantastic as well. He made a really big save late in the third and then made some fantastic saves in the shoot out to give us a chance to win.”
The Storm thought they had the go ahead goal with about eight and a half minutes remaining in the third, as Sam Erkkila had a couple whacks at the puck in close before lifting it over a sprawled out Dias.
However, the referee lost sight of the puck and blew the play down before the puck entered the goal.
In the shoot-out, Ethan Strang, Devin Sutton and Nathaniel Bierd scored for the Storm, with Bierd’s goal coming in the sixth round after Kaliel had stopped the Bobcats’ Alex Danis.
The Storm are now 3-1 on the season, while the shoot out loss did give the Bobcats their first point of the 2019-20 campaign (0-3-1).
The two clubs will hook up again Saturday night at Revolution Place.
Puck drop is set for 7:30.
Photography by Tammenthia Deisel | Recap by Jeff Henson with EverythingGP - "Everything Grande Prairie!"
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