Storm Fall To Grizzlies

Four wins in a row including two over one of the top teams in the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

The Grande Prairie Storm were on a roll and no doubt looking forward to their game against the defending league champion Brooks Bandits on Saturday.

First, though, there was a stop in Olds to take on the Grizzlies – the team sitting at the bottom of the AJHL South Division standings going into the game Friday.

Something unexpected happened on the way to Brooks. The Storm, one of the hottest teams in the AJHL to start the month of October with, fell 4-2 to a team that had lost four of five in the month heading into the game.

In a normal year a fourth place team in the North should probably have no trouble with a last place team in the South, but this isn't, so far, a normal year in the AJHL.

There is a lot of parity in each division.

The Grizzlies went into the game with nine points and the Storm had 13. The win moved Olds to a tie for fifth in the South. Only four points separate eighth from third in the South.

Same story in the North where the division leading Fort McMurray Oil Barons are just six ahead of the fourth place Storm and Sherwood Park Crusaders, who have 13 points each. The Storm are, despite the loss Friday, just two out of third.

The closeness of the league means every win is very important and the Storm are no doubt a little disappointed they aren't with the Wolverines – a team they defeated twice four days in October, in third place in as they prepare to take on the Bandits – sitting third in the South heading into Saturday's game.

It appeared, when Connor Blake scored for the Storm to tie the game at 2-2 at 16:10 of the third period Friday, Grande Prairie had at least a point in the bag.

But, just 50 seconds after Blake scored Olds got one off the stick of Estian Coetzee and then an empty-netter from Logan Broomhead with 54 seconds to go in the final frame to salt away Olds' fifth win of the season.

Blake had opened the game's scoring at 10:25 of the first period before Chase Olsen scored on the powerplay at 16:40 to tie it at ones. Olsen got another at 11:52 of the second to give the Grizz a 2-1 lead going into the third.

Olds had nine PP chances with just the one extra-man goal while the Storm failed on all seven of their PP chances.

Charles-Olivier Levesque was in the GP net and faced 29 shots while the Storm fired 39 at Andrew Henderson at the other end.

After the game in Brooks the Storm finish up the three-game south road swing with a game against the Mustangs in Calgary on Sunday.