When the game was a little over halfway into the first period Friday night in Revolution Arena the visiting Canmore Eagles didn't look like they had bus legs . . . the South Division Alberta Junior Hockey League team looked like they had been hit by a bus.
The Grande Prairie Storm scored just 19 seconds into the contest on the first shot of the game and steamrolled the Rocky Mountains club for almost 12 minutes making it 3-0 by the 12:13 mark.
If not for a hit goal post and some huge saves by Canmore netminder Thomas Davis it could have been 7-0. It ended up 6-2.
When Storm head coach/assistant general manager Matt Keillor reviews the contest with his club (which now has a week off) he might point out two key moments.
The first came while the Storm, ahead just 1-0, were killing a penalty in the first period. That's when defenceman Tyrel Boucher scored on a breakaway to make it 2-0.
Another big moment came in the second period when diminutive Storm forward Zachary Okabe – all 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds of him – tossed a shoulder into a Canmore defender knocking him to the ice allowing the Storm to gain possession of the puck. I ended up on the stick of Jonothan Hader at the side of the net, who directed it into the cage giving the Storm a 5-2 lead.
That goal took some of the steam out of the Eagles, who had made it 3-2 early in the second and were pressing and had the ice tilted in their favor for most of the second.
The Hader-Okabe-Justin Bernier line ended up with eight points – four of those from Hader, who also had three assists. Okabe had a goal and a helper and Bernier two assists.
Noah Walters, Parker Smyth and Connor Blake scored the other Storm goals. Tian Rask and Jake Ashton scored for the Eagles, who trailed 3-1 after the first and 5-2 heading into the third.
It was a bit of a chippy affair with 24 powerplays. The Storm hit on two of their 11 and the Eagles on one of their 13 extra-man chances.
Bernier's two points has him in a tie with Chris Van Os-Shaw of the Spruce Grove Saints atop the league scoring leaders with 28 points. Okabe leads all rookies in the league with 22 points. Dallas Comeau (26 points) and Blake (23) are also in the top 10 in scoring.
Davis ended up facing 24 shots while Storm netminder Charles-Olivier Levesque looked at 25.
The Storm remain in fourth place in the North Division with 25 points – two back of the third place Saints.
The team is off until they head to Bonnyville to take on the Pontiacs on Nov. 10. They head to Lloydminster to take on the Bobcats on the 11th and then host the Sherwood Park Crusaders on Wednesday, Nov. 15.