By Logan Clow, Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune
It was another weekend split for the Grande Prairie Storm.
Friday, Storm forward Tristan Crozier and Jade McMullen scored late in the third period and Chase Bell had the shootout winner, as the Storm rallied from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Calgary Canucks 3-2.
Saturday was a back-and-forth, goal-scoring affair against the Olds Grizzlys. The Storm scored six powerplay goals, including two each from McMullen and Crozier, but were unable to complete the comeback, falling 8-6.
The Storm are now 5-10 this season, good for seventh in the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s North Division.
Goaltender Liam McLeod played both weekend games as Adam Beukeboom was sidelined with the flu. Affiliate goaltender Andy Gilker backed-up McLeod on Friday. Gilker was unavailable Saturday, due to a JDA Kings Jr. B game. As a result, the Storm recalled Midget AAA Storm goaltender Dakota Kenyon.
“(The weekend) was quite the roller coaster ride,” said Kevin Higo, head coach and general manager of the Storm.
“I think both games were highly emotional and both games were in our grasp of winning and losing. I guess as a fan, I would think that both were entertaining, (the fans) got their money’s worth as (the games) had a little bit of everything. From a team standpoint, a lot of good things and a lot of negative things too.”
The Storm are 2-4 in the month of October.
Higo said he was pleased with the team’s “no quit attitude” over the weekend and special teams play.
“I thought the guys dug deep. I thought for a majority of the games, the guys played well,” said Higo.
“I hate to sound like a stuck record, but (we’re still) making the mistakes at the wrong time,” continued Higo. “We talked to the guys about it. We’re 15 games into the season. The young guy-old guy, or rookie-veteran – everyone has played enough games that when the puck is on their stick or they’re in an important (part) of the game, they have to do their job. We’re just not getting the job done at (the times) we need it and that’s coming back to hurt us in the end.”
The weekend also saw the debut of Ethan Lazaro. The 17-year-old forward, a St. Albert native, joined the team late Friday after being cut from the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors on Thursday.
Higo said the Warriors’ plan was to return Lazaro to St. Albert to play hockey, but he contacted the Warriors and expressed that the Storm were interested.
“We like what he brings and we’re excited that he’s here,” said Higo.
The Storm had Oct. 12 off and held an evening workout on Oct. 13, after playing six games in nine days. The team returns to the ice for practice Tuesday to Thursday.
Next up for the Storm is a three-game road trip on Oct. 17-19 against the Okotoks Oilers, Brooks Bandits and Drumheller Dragons.
“Every game is important and every point is important. We just have to deal with every game as the games come. We’re not even looking past Friday. Friday is going to be a big enough game for us,” said Higo.
“It’s not only three games, it’s three days of travel, so it’ll be a really good challenge for the guys.”
The Storm return home on Oct. 22 against the Whitecourt Wolverines.