Justin Bernier got the game-winner with 19 seconds remaining in the third period, but the star of the game was teammate Dallas Comeau.
Comeau, a 20-year-old Calgary native, scored what was the goal-of-the-year so far in a Grande Prairie Storm 3-2 win over the Whitecourt Wolverines Saturday in Alberta Junior Hockey League play in Revolution Arena. He also had an assist on the game-winner.
On his goal he split the Whitecourt defence on a solo rush, cut in front of the net and scored on a deke as he was falling managing to keep his balance just long enough to slide the puck into the net.
That goal came at 12:28 of the third period tying the game at 2-2 setting up Bernier's heroics in the last minute of play.
“Comeau's game-tying goal gave the guys that extra energy,” said Storm head coach/assistant general manager Matt Keillor. “You could feel the momentum shift.”
The Wolverines, the top team in the North Division with 14 points (just three up on the fourth place Storm), had battled back from a 1-0 deficit to take a 2-1 lead in the third, but Comeau's highlight reel effort put them on their heels somewhat, gave the Storm a boost and the resulting pressure by GP forced Whitecourt into taking two late penalties.
Bernier's game-winner was a wrist shot from the slot from about 25 feet out and came with the Storm enjoying a two-man advantage.
“That momentum gave us a late powerplay and more hard work culminated into a five-on-three,” said Keillor.
“I knew Bernier was itching for it after being cut from a high stick,” said Keillor, who saw his forward head to the dressing room for repairs earlier in the third after the high stick. “(Edouard) Michaud made a great play to hold the blueline and Comeau made a great pass to Bernier.
“We could see the hole from the bench and Bernier didn't waste the opportunity to put it there.”
The Storm had taken a 1-0 lead at 4:54 on a goal from Logan Mazerolle, but the Wolverines tied it just 56 seconds later on a tally off the stick of Tyr Thompson.
Whitecourt went up 2-1 on Ben Evanish's goal at 4:47 of the third. That goal was a beauty too.
Evanish stole the puck along the boards in the Storm end, raced in one-on-one taking shot off a Storm defenceman, picked up that rebound and raced around the net tucking the puck into the cage from behind the goal.
And then Comeau and Bernier went to work.
“It's always great when you get a comeback win,” said Keillor. “Our guys are just learning how to win. We will enjoy it tonight, but then we get back to work. We know Whitecourt will be hungry Tuesday.”
The Storm hit the road for four starting Tuesday in Whitecourt and then continuing with a southern swing through Olds, Brooks and Calgary.
Comeau's two points give him 15 on the season and leave him in a tie for seventh in league scoring. Bernier is in a tie for second with two other players including teammate Edouard Michaud.
Saturday the Storm outshot the Wolverines 27-17. Charles-Olivier Levesque was in net for the Storm and Xavier Potvin tended the Whitecourt cage.
Next home action for the Storm is October 20th when they host the Calgary Canucks.