Storm Deserved Better Fate Against Bandits

 Fifteen seconds!

That's how many ticks the Grande Prairie Storm were away from a huge win over the defending Alberta Junior Hockey League in their own building Saturday night.

But, a powerplay goal by Cale List of the Brook Bandits at 19:45 p.m. of the third tied the game at 2-2 allowing the hometown team to force overtime.

The Bandits got the only shot on goal in the three-on-three five minute OT, off the stick of Nic Hamre at 3:17, giving them a 3-2 win over the Storm in a hard fought battle before 1,000 onlookers.

“Quite simply we feel we got robbed of an extra point tonight,” said Storm head coach/assistant general manager Matt Keillor. “You get few moments on a bench where you feel a true sense of pride and tonight I really felt it.

“Guys were banged up and we had equipment issues. At one point we only had eight forwards in the game.”

The late-game powerplay for the Bandits came on a penalty to Walker Cote at 18:34.

“For a game that physical having a slashing call after the whistle after a net-front scrum with under two minutes left I felt was un-necessary. That put us down a man and gave them an opportunity to pull their goalie for a six-on-four.”

The point was the Storm's 14th of the season and moved them into sole possession of fourth place in the AJHL North Division.

Not only did the Bandits, in third place in the South Division with 16 points, have to battle back late to tie the game they had to recover from a 2-0 deficit to force the extra frame.

Justin Bernier, tied for fourth in league scoring with 19 points, got the Storm off to a 1-0 lead just 55 seconds into the game with his sixth of the season.

Connor Blake, who has points in 11 of the Storm's 13 games, netted his eighth of the season at 2:40 on the powerplay to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.

With 1:27 to go in the second the Bandits got on the board on a goal by Brandon Scanlin to make it 2-1.

“After the second period our bench looked like the corner of a boxing match with all the blood-soaked rags and ice,” said Keillor.

Charles-Olivier Levesque was in the Storm net making 36 saves while the Storm fired 21 pucks at Mitchel Benson in the BB cage.

“Levesque played unbelievably and deserved a better fate tonight,” said Keillor. “All our guys deserved a better fate.

“We have to take the positives out of that game. I think we can come together as a group – that's what you do when you sweat and bleed together.”

The Storm wind up their three-game southern swing on Sunday with an afternoon game against the Calgary Mustangs.

Next home action is Friday against the Calgary Canucks at 7:30  p.m. in Revolution Arena.