Looking for their first road win of the season after 16 losses the Calgary Mustangs needed some kind of a break to get them off the snide Saturday night at Revolution Arena.
That break may have been the breakdown of a Zamboni.
Down 2-1 after one period the Mustangs took control of the game in the second after a long delay while city staff tried to figure out what was wrong with the ice re-surfacer.
The rinkies couldn't get it going, but the Mustangs did on snowy ice turning that one-goal deficit into a 4-2 lead with three unanswered goals in the middle stanza en route to a 5-3 win over the Grande Prairie Storm.
Whether the broken Zamboni and bad ice was the turning point might be up for debate, but what isn't was the play of Mustang netminder Michael Barabash.
He was outstanding, especially in the third period when the Storm had point-blank after point-blank opportunity, but could beat him just once with goaltender Xavier Burghardt pulled for the extra attacker with 1:04 left in the game.
That goal, by Hines Creek native Dolan Bjornson, made it 4-3 and created some excitement in the building. The Storm put a push on to tie it in the final minute, but an 85 foot shot off the stick of Jordan Xavier found the empty net with 37 seconds remaining to salt Calgary's first road win away.
The Mustangs had opened the scoring at 2:15 of the first on a goal by Gage Joel, but then Storm leading scorer Michael Clarke, who has 17 goals and 14 assists for the Storm in 32 games, went to work.
His powerplay tally at 7:51 brought on the rain – of stuffed animals on Teddy Bear Toss Night.
Just 1:51 after the ice had been cleaned up Clarke struck again to make it 2-1 home team and it appeared the Storm had taken over control of the game.
And then the Zamboni fiasco.
The fast-skating Storm, slowed by the snowy conditions, saw Brock Sottile score on the powerplay at 2:55 to tie the game at 2-2 and then Tayden Woods give the visitors a 3-2 lead at 7:13.
The killer was the game-winner. Joel scored it shorthanded at 13:40 of the second.
Barabash ended up facing 36 shots while Burghardt looked at 35.
The loss, combined with a Brooks Bandits 7-0 win over the Lloydminster Bobcats, means the Storm lead over the 'Cats for the seventh and final playoff spot remains at three. The Bobcats have five games in hand and the two teams meet for a pair of games next Friday-Saturday in Grande Prairie.
The Storm have a chance to move into sixth place when they host the Drayton Valley Thunder on Sunday at 2 p.m. in Revolution Arena. The Thunder are currently in sixth, a point up on the Storm.