The Storm used the home crowd to shake the monkey off their back.
Returning home as losers of four straight, the squad responded with a 3-1 victory over the visiting Drayton Valley Thunder Wednesday night at Revolution Place.
Between the AJHL Showcase two weeks ago and the three game trip last weekend, the team was coming home rather road weary. Head Coach Matt Keillor says he and the team got the boost they needed from the hometown faithful.
“Even in the pregame speech, the first thing I said is ‘It feels good to be home’,” said Keillor. “Everyone, you could see, it was just a weight lifted their shoulders. They were excited to play in front of the home crowd.”
That excitement maybe got the best of Ethan Strang early on, as the 18-year-old had an early chance with a wide-open net in front, but his shot sailed over the net. The Storm held the zone though, which led to Nathan Morgan one-timing home his fifth of the season off a pass from Jackson Wozniak, making it 1-0 after 20 minutes.
Strang would redeem himself early in the second period though, as he cleaned up a rebound in front for his fourth of the year to give the Storm the 2-0 lead.
The Storm would then make it 3-0 on the power play later in the period, as Lukas Konaschuk would clean up a Strang point shot. The goal was Konaschuk’s first of the season.
As the offence found its groove once again, the Storm had no issues in net on Wednesday. Following a weekend performance that saw him allow 14 goals on 60 shots through the three-game road trip, Kaeden Lane stopped 20 of the 21 shots he faced to earn the victory.
Lane’s Head Coach says that the 18-year-old netminder really wanted a chance to redeem himself after that tough weekend.
“He was the first one here this morning, and he came into my office. We hadn’t even decided on a starting goaltender, and he came into my office and said, ‘I want this game, I want a rebound game,” said Keillor. “That told me right there, it was a pretty easy decision.
The lone puck to sneak past Lane came in the third, as Jacob Charko wristed a nice, cross-ice feed from Dylan Price home.
The game also served as a chance for plenty of local talent to get a shot at the Junior ‘A’ level, as the Storm rostered six local players, including Ty Toews and Hudson Foley from the Ernie’s Sports Experts GPAC Major Midget squad.
Keillor was impressed with their play and is grateful that when his team is faced with injuries, he has capable players ready and waiting nearby.
“It really helps us out, especially when they can just step into the lineup and they know exactly what’s expected of them right away.”
The Storm continue their four-game homestand on Friday against the Bonnyville Pontiacs, which is also Hockey Fights Cancer night at Revolution Place. Faceoff is at 7:30.
Photography by Tim Louttit | Recap by Shaun Penner with EverythingGP
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