What looked to be a blowout turned out to be a barn burner. In the end, the Grande Prairie Storm were just happy to escape with a 6-5 win in Brooks on Wednesday night.
Bandits are the AJHL South Division leaders and defending Royal Bank Cup champions, but it was the Storm who looked like world beaters for the first half of the hockey game. By the 6:50 mark of the second period, Grande Prairie led 5-0 on goals by Jade McMullen, Jordan McTaggart, Landon Gross and two by Ian McLellan and appeared to be home-and-cooled.
Cue the comeback, though. Bandits got one back before the end of the period and then three more in the first 16 minutes of the third to cut the deficit to one goal. Dalton Olsen would score what turned out to be the game winner on the powerplay a couple minutes later. However, a late marker by the Bandits made things very interesting in the final minute of play.
Bandits doubled the Storm in shots, 42-21, but Nick Kulmanovsky was the difference. Last year's AJHL goalie of the year outplayed both his Brooks counterparts to steal the win for the Storm.
The victory evens Grande Prairie's season record, at 12-12-2. With 26 points, they now lead Bonnyville by three points for fifth place and are just four points behind fourth place Lloydminster.
Storm have Thursday off before continuing their road trip Friday in Canmore. The southern swing comes to an end Saturday in Calgary, when they face the Canucks.
– Story by Don Whiteford of www.PeaceCountrySports.com.