It was a great start and a bit of a shaky finish, but the Grande Prairie Storm will take the two points.
The Storm defeated the Lloydminster Bobcats 4-2 in the Canada Games Arena in the Alberta Junior Hockey League home opener for the Swan City team Friday and find themselves in a four-way tie for third three games into the schedule.
A goal by Sam Lawson just 50 seconds into the game gave the Storm the great start and with a 3-0 lead in the third it appeared the finish was going to be even better.
But then the scare!
Kolten Anderson’s 45 foot floater at 16:24 of the third made it 3-1 and then with netminder Chase Martin pulled for the extra attacker Dustin Lebrun narrowed it to 3-2 with just 2:02 remaining and lots of time to tie it.
Any thoughts of the Bobcats earning their first point of the season were dashed when veteran Tanner Labbe’s almost ice-length shot slid inside the post into the empty net to make it 4-2 with just 1:06 remaining in the final frame.
Lawson had two goals – the eventual game winner that made it 3-0 after 15:21 of the third on the powerplay. Gus Correale had scored at 7:41 of the third to make it 2-0.
The Storm penalty kill was once again stellar allowing no goals on four chances while the Storm scored on one of four PP opportunities.
Martin was tested 24 times in the Bobcats net while the border city team tossed 27 at Storm goaltender Nick Kulmanovsky, the Fairbanks, Alaska native playing his first game in front of the hometown crowd.
The win was the first of the season for the Storm after two close road losses last weekend. Lloydminster is winless in three starts.
The Bobcats and Storm do it all over again on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the Games Arena.