By Logan Clow, Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune
Things are starting to take shape for the Grande Prairie Storm, according to head coach Kevin Higo.
The Storm are coming off a 4-3 overtime win over the Whitecourt Wolverines on Wednesday at Revolution Place, courtesy of a three-goal game from forward Jade McMullen and overtime heroics from captain Blake Bosch.
This weekend, the squad embarks on a two-game road trip with a rematch against the Wolverines (4-10-3) on Friday, followed by the Spruce Grove Saints (12-4-2) on Saturday.
“I think you’re starting to see a little bit more balance. Guys are starting to feel a little bit more comfortable,” said Higo, following the overtime win.
“I think we’re getting closer to where we want to be. Is there going to be more changes? Possibly. We’ll keep tinkering until we get to where we feel were comfortable.”
Over the last week, Higo has worked the phones to try and improve the Storm via trades.
On Oct. 16, the first deal saw forward Dylan Thudium go to the Wolverines in exchange for future considerations.
Earlier this week, Higo then sent defenceman Al MacPherson and future considerations to the La Ronge Ice Wolves, of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, in exchange for forward Braden Oleksyn. The 18-year-old, who was drafted by the Calgary Hitmen in 2011, played between the Hitmen and Victoria Royals last season. Oleksyn arrived after Wednesday’s game.
Higo than acquired Clive Rozdeba, of the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, for future considerations. The 18-year-old defenceman played for the Calgary Midget AAA Royals last season and made his Storm debut on Wednesday, playing alongside defenceman Braeden Jones.
“I think it’s two-fold. Some of (the deals) are out of necessity and some of it is the direction we’re going in,” said Higo.
“We’ve got some younger guys needing some ice-times, like the Ben Assads, the Tristan Croziers, the Austin Parmiters and all of those 16, 17 and 18-year-old guys. They need to play and they need to play in important situations.”
Higo said he also wants to add to the team’s offence with some more skill.
“I think we’re starting to build a core here and it’s going to be the group that we move forward with,” he said.
In the midst of the deals, the Storm are on a two-game win streak, have 7-12 record and are seventh in the AJHL’s North Division.
Higo said the squad is going to make some adjustments before the weekend road trip at practice on Thursday.
“We want to clean up our defensive zone,” noted Higo.
Storm forward Jade McMullen is ranked sixth in league scoring with 14 goals and seven assists and is on a six-game point streak.
The squad returns home on Oct. 31 to try and put a scare into Curtis Skip and the Drumheller Dragons.