No matter what the final result, it was going to be an historic night at the Canada Games Arena. Mike Forsyth just made sure it was both historic and a happy ending for Grande Prairie Storm fans.
Forsyth scoring at the 59 second mark of overtime on a powerplay as the Storm edged Whitecourt 3-2 in the Wolverines first-ever regular season visit to Grande Prairie. Forsyth’s goal just trickled over the goal line, after Wolverines goalie Tanner Kovacs had the shot go off the top of his catching mitt and skip behind him into the net.
For the Storm, it was their first lead of the night and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Not only did it stretch the club’s winning streak to three games, but it sent them into a ten-day break on a high note. Coach Blaine Bablitz says it also should give his club momentum going forward.
“Beating a quality opponent like this should give our guys a great boost of confidence. We now know that if we play our game, we can beat anyone and be one of the top clubs in our division.”
Prior to the win over Whitecourt, Grande Prairie had only won two of their prior eight meetings with North Division clubs and both of those victories had been against the cellar dwelling Lloydminster Bobcats. Overall, the Storm are now 9-5-2 on the year—the first time they’ve been four games over the 500 mark in at least a couple seasons.
The teams traded goals in both the first and third periods, as Tyler Haiste and Jake Matkin both notched their first of the year for the Storm. For Haiste, it was also his first goal in the AJHL. Coach Bablitz liked what he saw out of Matkin and the entire fourth line.
“It’s uplifting to your entire team when the fourth line can go out and not only play great in their own end, but also get several quality scoring chances. They had the one goal for us and could have had a few more, with the way they were buzzing the Wolverines net.”
The visitors actually were dominant in the first fifteen minutes of the contest, before the Storm took control for most of the remainder of the game. Wolverine players made an almost continuous bee-line to the penalty box, allowing the Storm ten powerplays on the night, of which they cashed in two. Storm penalty killers were only tested four times, killing off all of their short handed situations.
Grande Prairie now gets a week and a half to rest up and get ready to face Whitecourt again. A quirk in the schedule sees the Storm play three straight games against the Wolverines. The teams meet again Friday, November 2nd at the Canada Games Arena, before heading down Highway 43 to meet in Whitecourt a night later.
-Story supplied by Don Whiteford of www.PeaceCountrySports.com