“Their powerplay was effective, while ours wasn't…and that was the story of the game.”
That's how Grande Prairie Storm coach and general manager Matt Hughes described his club's 5-2 loss Tuesday night, in front of 1794 fans at the Canada Games Arena. Oil Barons breaking open a one-goal game with two third period powerplay markers, after the Storm had fought back all night long.
Stephen Doane and Jade McMullen had the goals for the Storm, who rallied from two goals down to tie things up in the second period. Shortly after tying the game, though, a give-away in their own end resulted in the Storm surrendering what would ultimately be the game winning goal.
Hughes says that was the turning point in the contest.
“We tie things up and then three straight shifts, we give away the puck in our own zone. Fort McMurray's too good of a team to do that against and sure enough, they finally made us pay for it.”
Storm also ran into a hot goaltender this night, as former Grande Prairie minor hockey product Jesse Gordichuk made several excellent saves, among the 34 shots he faced. Jacob Suppes had a rate night between the pipes for the Storm, as Nick Kulmanovsky sat this one out with what was described as a pulled hamstring. Suppes ended up with 30 saves on 35 shots faced.
The Storm loss, combined with a 7-6 Drayton Valley win over Bonnyville, leaves Grande Prairie just two points up on the Thunder for the final playoff spot. Drayton Valley also has two games in hand.
Storm now head out for games in Sherwood Park and Spruce Grove this weekend. They return home next Tuesday to face the Lloydminster Bobcats.
– Story by Don Whiteford of www.PeaceCountrySports.com.