It was the best Valentine's gift the Grande Prairie Storm could give their loyal fanbase.
In front of 1477 fans Friday night at the Canada Games Arena, the Storm snapped a five game losing streak with one of their best outings of the season, rallying from behind to beat the powerful Fort McMurray Oil Barons 3-1. The victory was the first in regulation time for Grande Prairie over Fort Mac in four years.
After trailing 1-0 through forty minutes, it was the much maligned Storm powerplay which was the difference in the third period. Sasha Laroque tied the game with a screened blast from the point about midway through the third, with the Storm up a man. Then, with only a minute and a half to go and the home side back on the powerplay, it was Laroque again to the rescue, snapping a shot from the left face off circle just under the bar to give the Storm the lead. Ryan Baskerville would ice things with a long-range empty netter in the final minute.
Coach Matt Hughes says having veterans Laroque and Jade McMullen both in the line-up for one of the few times this year made a huge difference.
“You can see what Sasha and Jade bring to this team. On the game winning goal, it was Jade busting into their zone that made the play, allowing Sasha the room to unleash a great shot.”
Storm powerplay going two-for-five on the night, while allowing the Oil Barons just one goal on their five opportunities. Grande Prairie also ended up outshooting their visitors 37-35 overall.
With the win, Storm are now five points behind Drayton Valley for the final playoff spot, with five games to go in the regular season. Thunder were idle Friday night. Storm will look for the weekend sweep of the MOB Saturday, with gametime 7:30 pm at the Canada Games.
– Story by Don Whiteford of www.PeaceCountrySports.com.