The Olds Grizzlys have one of the poorest records in the AJHL, but you'd certainly never know it from watching them Friday night in Grande Prairie. In front of 1758 disappointed onlookers at the Canada Games Arena, the Grizzlys stymied the Storm at every turn, enroute to a 2-0 victory.
Goalie Ethan Jemieff had to be occasionally sharp between the pipes for the Grizzlys, blocking 34 shots on the night for his first shut out of the year. Really, though, the Storm were their own worst enemies, as they failed to generate many scoring chances, especially after the first period.
Coach Blaine Bablitz called it an “interesting night”, saying his club didn't play horribly, but also didn't bear down when they needed to.
“Were we bad? No. We just weren't overly sharp. Too often, we tried the pretty play, rather than driving the puck to the net. Their goalie was good, but we also made his life easy.”
Both Grizzlys goals came in the second period, with the game winner coming shortly after an ineffective Storm powerplay had concluded. Bablitz admits that was a major turning point in the game.
“Our powerplay didn't execute when needed. Not only that, it didn't generate any momentum on the night. Having Olds score right after our powerplay to start the second ended up being a killer.”
Storm ended up 0-for-3 with the manpower advantage on the evening. The Grizzlys also failed two score on their two powerplays.
The loss keeps Grande Prairie tied for second in the AJHL North with both Whitecourt and Bonnyville. Drayton Valley is just one point back, as the Thunder fell Friday against Spruce Grove.
Storm have now lost two straight and three of their last four, but have little time to console themselves. They are back in action Saturday evening, as the Calgary Canucks come to town. Gametime is 7:30.
-Story submitted by Don Whiteford of www.PeaceCountrySports.com