One streak is over and another continues.
The Drumheller Dragons downed the Grande Prairie Storm 4-2 in Revolution Place on Friday, handing the Storm its first home loss of the season. A streak that had gone four games.
The streak that continues was the plus-1,000 attendance mark. For the fifth time the Storm drew over 1,000 fans with 1,229 in attendance for Friday's contest.
And for a good part of the game those pro-Storm witnesses were reasonably pleased with what was happening on the ice.
Two powerplay goals – one off the stick of Jake Elmer at 10:24 and another from Zac McNeill at 15:32 had given the Storm a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes. Sandwiched between the Storm goals was one from Drumheller's Jordan Taupert at 11:03.
And then the Dragons, at least on the scoreboard, took over.
Brayden Nicholetts scored at 3:21 of the second to tie the game and then Slater Dykema got the game winner at 11:54 to make it 3-2 for the visitors. The Dragons made the hill even harder to climb for the Storm when Evan Tschumi scored with 8:20 to go in the third.
Unfortunately for the Storm the best player on the ice Friday was Drumheller Dragon netminder Hunter Virostek, who faced 29 shots – many of them when the Storm were enjoying a string of powerplays in the second period, including one three-on-five when the game was tied.
Storm goaltender Alex Weersink faced 22 shots.
Grande Prairie ended up going two for eight on the PP while the Dragons failed to take advantage of five extra man advantages.
“Tonight was a game that was there for the taking,” said Storm head coach/general manager Kevin Higo. “We had our PP going in the first, which scored two goals, but when we need a goal at a key time the PP wasn't able to score.
“It generated chances, which were good chances, but didn't score to tie the game when we needed it to.”
Execution, Higo says, was the team's biggest problem throughout the game.
“Our system and structure tonight were fine and gave us a chance in the game. Where we struggled was the execution of the systems. We knew what needed to be done, but when the time came to do it we didn't.”
Despite the loss the Storm still remain just a point away from the fifth place Sherwood Park Crusaders. The Cru fell 7-4 to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons Friday night. The spread over the seventh place Drayton Valley Thunder remains at six points and over the eighth place Lloydminster Bobcats, after a Bobcat 2-0 loss to the Okotoks Oilers, at nine.
“In order for the team to take steps forward as a group the execution has to be better at the key times in the game – a five-on-three, a PP late in the third when down a goal, a blocked shot or a cleared puck out of the defensive zone needs to be done.”
The Storm get a chance to get it done and work on a new win streak when they host the Calgary Canucks at 7:30 p.m. Saturday – Secure Energy Shoot For The Cure night.
Fans are asked to wear pink and help the team raise fund by purchasing a Frisbee with a chance to win a trip for two anywhere WestJet flies. The team will also be wearing pink jerseys that will be put up for auction.