It was a dominating performance by the Grande Prairie Storm on Saturday night, even if the scoreboard might have said otherwise.
The Storm outshot Lloydminster 42-21 en route to a 1-0 win, their fourth straight victory.
The only reason the score was not more lopsided in favour of the home side was Lloydminster goaltender Josh Dias.
Coming off an outstanding 36 save performance on Friday night, Dias made 41 saves on Saturday, with Lukas Jirousek’s goal at the 14:21 mark of the first period being the only shot that would beat him on the night.
His play drew praise from Storm Coach Matt Keillor.
“We kind of knew after Friday night’s effort by Dias, we had a strong feeling that they would start him again. I probably would have done the same thing with a performance like that. So kudos to him.”
“But at no point in the game did we feel that it was not in our grasp to win.”
Still, despite the dominating performance by his team, Keillor admits the close score did lead to some nervous moments.
“Everything gets magnified when you make a mistake in a game like tonight. Even as a coaching staff, there was a couple of times that we had to talk and reign ourselves in because when there was a shot against, we were hooting and hollering and screaming.”
“Kudos to (assistant coach) Ryan, who had to come down a couple of times and say to me that we were doing good, our metrics were good, our exits were good, there is nothing different now.”
Kaeden Lane picked up his second shutout of the young season, making 21 saves including a few key stops in the dying minutes when the Bobcats pulled their goalie for an extra attacker.
One area that Keillor was particularly impressed with was an improvement in his team’s forecheck, which led to countless good scoring opportunities thanks to Lloydminster turnovers in their own end.
“That’s our M-O, and for the most part it has been very consistent. The biggest thing now for us is to execute. I think we have not scored on our last five or six breakaways, but we are generating those offensive chances.”
“Some work on special teams through video and some execution and hopefully we will start putting the puck in the back of the net a little more frequently.”
The Storm will get a big test on Monday night, as the defending North Division champion Spruce Grove Saints bring a 5-and-0 record to Revolution Place.
Puck drop is set for 7:30.
Photography by Tim Louttit | Recap by Jeff Henson with Everything GP
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