Despite a 6-2 loss to the Spruce Grove Saints on Wednesday night in Revolution Place Arena, the Grande Prairie Storm fate in regards to where they will finish in the Alberta Junior Hockey League standings is entirely in their hands.
The Storm still hang onto the treasured fourth place position, and home ice advantage in the AJHL best-of-five North Division quarter-finale, but that grip is a little bit more precarious after the Sherwood Park Crusaders blanked the Lloydminster Bobcats Wednesday.
The Cru trail the Storm by just one point, 56 to 57, with both teams having two games remaining.
Sherwood Park plays a home-and-home against the North Division regular season champion Saints with the first game in Spruce on Friday and the season finale for both teams in Sherwood Park on Saturday. The Storm host the Bobcats in games Saturday and Sunday.
A pair of wins over the Bobcats would secure fourth for the Storm, but they could also lose twice as long as the Cru lose both.
If the two teams end up tied in points after the 60th game the first tie-breaker is regulation wins. Both teams have 27 of those. The second tie-breaker is regulation wins in games between the two teams. The Cru lead that stat with three wins and two losses (the sixth game was a win in OT by the Storm).
On Wednesday the Storm ran up against a juggernaut of a hockey club in the Saints – ranked as the eighth best Junior A team in Canada. The same club they could potentially meet if they get through the first round of the playoffs.
Spruce Grove got goals from six different players – league scoring leader Chris Van Os-Shaw on the powerplay and Seth Fyten in the first; Austin Parmiter and Jarrod Gourly in the second; and Chase Olsen and Jordan Biro in the third – en route to their 45th win of the season.
Edouard Michaud, with his 37th and 38th of the season, scored both Storm goals.
Spruce Grove led 2-1 after the first and 4-1 after two periods.
The Storm poured 46 shots at Storm rookie netminder Ethan Slobodzian while Nolan Kent in the SG cage faced 19.
Saturday's game against the Bobcats goes at 7:30 p.m. and then the teams wrap up the 2017-2018 regular season with a game Sunday at 2 p.m.