The battle for fourth place in the Alberta Junior Hockey League is getting interesting with less than 20 games remaining on the regular season schedule.
A Grande Prairie Storm 5-2 loss to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons combined with the Sherwood Park Crusader 5-3 win over the Calgary Mustangs on Friday has moved the Cru to within just one point of the fourth place Storm in the AJHL North Division – 41 points to 40 with the Crusaders holding a game in hand.
The sixth place Bonnyville Pontiacs blanked the Whitecourt Wolverines 4-0 and are now just six points away from that all-important fourth place that guarantees a team at least two home playoff games.
In the oilsands city the Storm fell behind 3-0 after the first period and couldn't recover. Fort Mac, the top team in the North with 65 points, led 4-2 after 40 minutes.
Newcomer Jared Power and Edouard Michaud scored for the Storm while Jack Hamly had two and Nicholas Leeseberg, Will Conley and Merritt Oszytko singles for the Oil Barons.
Charles-Olivier Levesque started for the Storm and faced eight shots while allowing three goals in the first 16:33 of the game while reliever Ethan Slobodzian looked at 22 shots during his time between the pipes. The Storm fired 26 pucks at Eric Szudor at the other end.
The Storm finish up a five-game road trip with a game in Spruce Grove against the Saints on Saturday before returning to Grande Prairie on Friday, Jan. 19 where the Mustangs will be the visitors.