Tough November Ends

 As Grande Prairie Storm head coach/general manager Kevin Higo prepares his club for the December portion of the Alberta Junior Hockey League schedule with home games Saturday (Calgary Mustangs) and Sunday (Drayton Valley Thunder) he is probably wishing he could reach into his pocket and pull out a neuralyzer.

That's the device Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) used in the movie Men In Black. It is a device about the size of an average cigar tube that gives a bright flash which erases the memories of the past hours, days, weeks, months or years, depending on the chosen settings.

Higo would no doubt select November, 2016 if he was going to use it on his team.

The Storm lost 7-2 to the Crusaders in Sherwood Park on Tuesday ending a month that saw them go 0-14 in the win column. They did collect two points in November after two OT losses.

Despite the month-long struggles the Storm still find themselves in the final playoff hole – seventh place with 17 points – four more than the last place Lloydminster Bobcats, who have four games in hand.

While the short-term memory loss would be to their benefit, remembering their home start to the season would conjure up some more pleasant memories. The team started the home portion of their schedule with points in seven of their first eight games in Revolution Arena.

A pair of wins this weekend would no doubt go a long way towards helping Storm fans forget the last month without the use of a neuralyzer.

One player who has been providing some good memories is forward Evan Rochowiak, who was acquired from the Drumheller Dragons earlier in November. The 20-year-old American has played four games with the Storm and has points in all four with a goal and three assists.

Tuesday night he assisted on the first Storm goal. It came at 1:45 of the third period on a goal scored by Adam Wilson who is another recent acquisition. Wilson's goal had narrowed the Crusader lead to 4-1 after they had scored three times in the second period and once early in the third.

Wilson's goal was part of a crazy flurry of scoring in the third that saw six goals scored in just over 10 minutes including Michael Clarke's 14th of the season at 6:01 making it 5-2. Clark, 18, has 28 points in 31 games for the Storm and leads the team in scoring.

Brett Roberts scored twice for the Crusaders, who hold down fifth place with 31 points, while Koletrane Wilson, Merritt Oszytko, Tanner Younghans, Ryan Rebelato and Brandon Wallis had singles.

Xavier Burghardt was in net or the Storm facing 48 shots while Zac Klassen at the other end hand to handle 33.

Saturday's game is Teddy Bear Toss Night. Fans are asked to bring a new stuffed animal, wrap it in plastic and toss when the Storm score their first goal. Stuffed animals will be available at the arena to purchase.