Storm Drop First Game of South Swing

The bad news is the Grande Prairie Storm lost to the Calgary Canucks on Wednesday in an Alberta Junior Hockey League contest in the southern city.

The good news is the Storm get another shot at the South Division team in the friendly confines of Revolution Place next week.

The 3-1 loss to the host Canucks dropped the Storm record to 4-5-1 with all four wins coming at home.

The lesson learned from a pair of weekend home wins over two of the best teams in the league – the Camrose Kodiaks and Spruce Grove Saints – was lost somewhat on the players Wednesday.

“The end result was we didn't get two points,” said Storm head coach/general manager Kevin Higo, who had praised his team for full game efforts after the weekend wins, “but the lesson from the game (Wednesday) will be we need 20 players going for 60 minutes to win.

“Some of our players were not good today – they didn't show up until the third period.”

Calgary scored twice in less than three minutes in the first going up 1-0 on a goal by Jordan McConnell at 15:18 and then 2-0 on a goal by Brett Van Os at 17:52.

Michael Clarke's seventh of the season with 1:06 to go in the opening frame got the Storm back in the game heading into the second.
Calgary outshot the Storm 23-13 over the first 40 minutes and got a second period goal from Brayden Brown to re-take the two-goal cushion.

The Storm did rally in the third, as Higo indicated, outshooting the Canucks 9-7, but Calgary netminder Logan Drackett closed the door and the Canucks left the building in top spot in the AJHL South. Storm goaltender Arik Weersink, who was named the AJHL top defender or the week after stopping 67 of 70 shots in the weekend wins, was in the GP net.

The game Wednesday started a four-games-in-five-nights stretch for the Storm.

“This is a long, tough trip that we were looking to start with a win,” said Higo. “The whole trip gets a lot tougher now with a loss tonight.
“Give the Canucks credit, they capitalized on our mistakes and we didn't do the same.”

The Storm stay in Calgary to take on the Mustangs on Thursday and get a day off before taking on the Brooks Bandits on Saturday and then the Drumheller Dragons on Sunday.

“Thursday's game is very important,” said Higo. “The Mustangs just had a big win against Okotoks so they should be riding high. We will make some changes to the lineup for tomorrow and expect the team to rebound with a better effort.”

Only four minor penalties were called in the game with each team getting two powerplay chances. Neither club scored on the powerplay.

The Bonnyville Pontiacs, with four goals in the third period, did the Storm a bit of a favor by downing the Lloydminster Bobcats 6-5 on Wednesday. The Bobcats are nine points back of the Storm in last place in the North Division while the Storm sit sixth with nine points, three back of fifth. The Drayton Valley Thunder are four back in seventh place.

After returning home to take on the Dragons next Friday the Storm host the Canucks on Saturday, Oct. 22.