Southern Comfort

   The Grande Prairie Storm are on another long winning streak, although this is one that many fans probably didn't know existed. Storm skating past the Canucks 5-2 in Calgary Tuesday night to begin their four-game road swing and give them nine straight wins against South Division opponents.

   Since falling 2-1 in Camrose on the opening weekend of the regular season, the Storm have not lost a game against southern opposition. That includes a 4-1 win over Brooks, which is still the Bandits only loss in 35 games this year. It was also the Storm's second win over the Canucks, having downed them 4-2 during showcase weekend in Spruce Grove in mid-September. The two squads will meet one more time—January 19th at the Canada Games Arena.

   Storm never trailed in this game. A wild first period saw Grande Prairie take a 3-2 lead on goals by Devin Case, Gus Correale and Adam Boytinck. Mark-Etienne Drapeau, on the powerplay, and Jordan McTaggart would add second period markers to give the Storm a comfortable three-goal lead heading into the third. Canucks would turn up the pressure in the final twenty minutes, forcing Nick Kulmanovsky to make 17 of his 33 total saves during the last twenty minutes.

   As Storm coach Blaine Balitz has said previously, when his penalty killers can have a perfect night, the club has an excellent shot of winning the game. Such was the case in Calgary, with the Canucks going 0-for-4 with the man advantage. Storm also had four powerplay chances, connecting on one of them.

   The victory moves the Storm to within one point of Bonnyville for second in the AJHL North. They are also seven points behind Spruce Grove for top spot in the division.

   Grande Prairie now moves west on the Trans Canada Highway to Canmore for a game Wednesday night against the Eagles. After getting a breather on Thursday, the Storm then finish off the road trip with games on Friday in Okotoks and then back in Calgary Saturday to face the Mustangs. They'll then have a dozen days off for their Christmas/New Year break, before returning to action January 4th, at home to the Saints.

– Story by Don Whiteford of