They may not have earned two points, but the Grande Prairie Storm earned a whole lot of respect on Friday night at the Canada Games Arena—both from their opponents and their fans.
Two weeks after being drubbed 7-1 by Spruce Grove and outshot 49-8 by the Saints, the Storm held their own against the high-powered Saints, falling 2-1 in a shoot out. Ryan Baskerville's second period marker provided the offense the Storm needed to make it to overtime, while Nick Kulmanovsky and the penalty killers were near perfect on the night.
Coach Matt Hughes had high praise for his goaltender and his penalty killers.
“Matt was brilliant. No one competes better for loose pucks than he does. Meantime, it says a lot about our PK unit to shut down the number one powerplay in the AJHL.”
Saints were held off the scoreboard on a half dozen powerplay chances, including one in the final two minutes of regulation time. Storm had five powerplays of their own, but couldn't score.
The shoot out loss was the first in six home games this season for the Storm. Overall, they have an 8-2 record when the game goes to the penalty shot event.
Still, the one point keeps the Storm in front of the Drayton Valley Thunder for the final playoff spot in the AJHL North. The Thunder won in overtime in Whitecourt and still have three games in hand on Grande Prairie.
Storm host the Saints again on Saturday night. Gametime is 7:30.
– Story by Don Whiteford of www.PeaceCountrySports.com.