Storm Fall in Shoot Out

A masked man pulled off a theft in Revolution Place on Friday night.

His name is Arik Weersink and he plays goal for the Grande Prairie Storm. He stole a point for the hometown team in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Canmore Eagles.

The 19-year-old second year Storm netminder was spectacular, including stopping 17 of 18 shots in the third period, to help the Storm collect at least a point for the sixth time in seven home games this season.

Weersink, who was the Alberta Junior Hockey League Defensive Player of the Week while helping the Storm to home wins over the Camrose Kodiaks and Spruce Grove Saints earlier this month, made five saves in overtime – including a unbelievable glove grab on what looked like a sure goal – in the dying moments of the extra frame to push it to a shootout.

Canmore players Adam Tisdale (missed deke) and Matt Forchuk (glove save) failed to score in the shootout, but Braden Saretsky, on the deke, ended up netting the game winner. Jake Elmer took the first Storm shootout shot and hit the post and Felip Gosselin and Michael Clarke missed on dekes with the game ending when the puck rolled off Clarke's stick before he could backhand it into the net.

While the finish wasn't what the Storm wanted, the start was.

Goals by Jake Ustorf, Zac McNeill and Elmer in a span of 4:58 in the first period turned a 1-0 – after an Eagles goal by Coy Prevost at 2:25 – deficit into a 3-1 Storm lead.

Canmore narrowed it to 3-2 when Forchuk scored with 6:45 to go in the opening frame.

“It was positive to see us get off to a good start and get an early lead,” said Storm head coach/general Manager Kevin Higo. “We played well in the first period and deserved to have a two-goal lead.

“When you play a team with that much offensive strength it's just a matter of time before they get chances,” said Higo. “For parts of the game we defended well, but the two goals we gave up even strength were breakdowns on our part.”

The ice started to tilt in Canmore's favor in the second period as the Eagles, the fifth highest scoring team in the league, started to gain some momentum firing 10 shots at Weersink and then following that up with the 18 in the third scoring once to tie the game at 5:01 on a powerplay tally by Forchuk.

For most of the third the Storm found themselves defending and not attacking. They did a good job blocking shots and when pucks did get through Weersink was there.

“The game lacked the emotion and intensity we have had the past couple of home games,” Higo said. “A major part of that was us as a team didn't bring the energy we had.”

Weersink ended up facing 40 shots over the 65 minutes while Thomas Davis at the other end looked at 25.

The Storm now trail the fifth place Sherwood Park Crusaders (14 points) by a single point. They have moved six up on the Drayton Valley Thunder, who lost 3-2 to the Spruce Grove Saints.

“As disappointing as the shootout loss was we have to realize that any point is a valuable point,” said Higo. “Five teams in the North got points tonight and the single point will be a factor at some point in the season.”

The Storm play their eight game in a row against the South Division when the Olds Grizzlys visit Revolution Place on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The team has four wins, a loss, overtime loss and shootout loss in the seven home games this year – one of the best home records after that many games in team history.