Good goaltending keeps you in games. Great goaltening helps you steal them. Saturday night at the Canada Games Arena, Curtis Skip was at his larcenous best, as he swiped two points away from the visiting Okotoks Oilers.
Skip was easily the first star on the evening, leading his Storm to a 2-1 victory. Many of the his 35 stops were of the spectacular variety, as he held his club in the game long enough before the offence finally clicked into gear in the final 25 minutes.
Okotoks got off to a quick start on the night, bottling the Storm in their own end for a couple minutes, before Greg Lamoureux scored on a partially screened Skip just 1:58 into the contest. Oilers had several other quality chances in a first period that saw them outshoot the home side 13-3.
Despite having just five shots on goal through the first half of the game, the Storm were able to equalize at the 16:25 mark of the second period when Sam Lawson capitalized on a give away by one of the Oilers defencemen and scored an unassisted marker to tie the contest up heading into the final frame. Then, just twelve seconds after a powerplay expired midway through the third, Jade McMullen tapped home a Jordan McTaggart rebound to give the Storm the lead for the first time on the night.
Okotoks had a couple powerplays in the final five minutes of the game, but the Storm penalty killers hung tough. Oilers thought they had tied the game in the dying seconds, however it was obvious that a shot into the net by Connor Hartley came almost a full second after the siren sounded to end the contest.
It was the second win for the Storm in as many nights against South Division opposition, having shaded the Drumheller Dragons 3-2 in overtime on Friday. Coach Blaine Bablitz was glad to pick up the two points, but not thrilled with his club's effort.
“We weren't mentally prepared enough again tonight. Our top two lines, especially, need to produce more. They were great at Showcase weekend but not these last two games” said Bablitz.
Bablitz was much happier, though, with the play of his goalies this weekend—Nick Kulmanovsky in the first game and Skip in the second.
“Great game out of Skipper. Both our two guys are very competitive. Several games this season they've bailed us out when we haven't played all that well” added Bablitz.
Grande Prairie now heads out on the road for three straight games. They're in Sherwood Park this Wednesday, before heading to Fort McMurray on Friday and Saturday. Storm return to the Canada Games arena on Friday, October 19th against Camrose.