When Grande Prairie Storm coach/general manager Matt Keillor gives his pre-game talk before Saturday's tilt against the Spruce Grove Saints he'll probably tell his troops to play like they did on Friday when they took on the Saints in Revolution Arena.
The Storm matched the Saints, the fourth place team in the North Division of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, in pretty much every area except the most important one – on the scoreboard.
Spruce Grove, in one of those could-have-gone-either-way encounters, downed the Storm 4-1.
After a scoreless first period when the teams both had eight shots, the ice tilted a little in the second in favor of the Saints.
On their 17th shot, at 10:38 of the middle stanza the visitors got on the board when Logan Ganie scored and then 6:15 later Ryan McKinnon spread the lead to two.
The killer goal was Spruce Grove's third at 13:39 of the third period. Eric Olson scored that on a two-one-one after a Storm defender had failed to seal him off with a hit along the boards at centre ice allowing him to escape and pot his third of the season.
One of the largest crowds of the season (official attendance 1,475 with many of them enjoying a free beer complements of Rocky Mountain Equipment) had something to cheer about when Storm defenceman Jason Wenzel's booming slapshot, while the Storm were killing a penalty, made it 3-1 with 1:55 remaining in the third.
The Saints didn't need it, but got an empty net goal from McKinnon with four seconds remaining in the game.
Both goaltenders were steady with Grande Prairie's Arik Weersink facing 33 shots and Nolan Kent at the other end looking at 27.
The win moves the Saints to within a point of the third place Fort McMurray Oil Barons while the Storm loss, combined with a Drayton Valley Thunder 6-3 win over the Lloydminster Bobcats cuts the Storm lead over the seventh place Thunder to four points.
The Storm have 26 points, the Thunder 22 and the last place Bobcats 18. The Thunder have three games in hand and the Bobcats six.
Saturday's rematch between the Storm and Saints starts at 7:30 p.m.