If special teams, like penalty killing, and goaltending are two of the keys to playoff success over 1,600 hockey fans on Friday in Revolution Place Arena got a sample of what the Grande Prairie Storm are capable of in the post-season.
The Storm PK was better than OK and goaltender Charles-Olivier Levesque was outstanding in a 3-2 Storm win over the Calgary Mustangs.
The Storm killed off eight of nine Mustang powerplays, including a five-on-three situation in the second and third periods, and Levesque made 25 saves – including a stop on Mustang forward Ryan Stoynich at 9:58 of the second period with the game tied 2-2 and the Storm on the powerplay – and refused to yield as the Mustangs battled late to try to force overtime.
The win kept the Storm within a point of the fourth place Sherwood Park Crusaders (44 points to 43) in the North Division of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
Jared Power, in his first home game in a Storm uniform, got his first goal in GP colors and it was a biggie. A Power-play goal no less!
He scored the game-winner at 10:17 of the third on the PP giving the Storm their 20th win of the season and 13th on home ice.
Power shoveled the puck into an open net after a shot by teammate Dallas Comeau had bounced off Calgary goaltender Ashton Abel.
Comeau got the Storm off to a 1-0 lead at 6:27 of the first before a goal by Salvatore Scalise, on the powerplay at 9:30, tied it at 1-1.
Comeau, who was in on all three goals, sent rookie Zach Okabe in alone just 13 seconds into the second and he deked Abel to put the Storm up 2-1.
With 22 seconds remaining in the second the Mustangs tied it at 2-2, on a goal by Ryley Smith, to set up Power's third period heroics.
Comeau was the centre of attention for a different reason late in the game.
He had to get trainer help after being smashed into the boards . . . and his teammates didn't like it.
That resulted in a bit of a melee after the final whistle. A situation that will, no doubt end up in some suspensions.
That means the team could be a little shorthanded when they host the Lloydminster Bobcats at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.