Following Friday?s disappointing 5-1 loss in Whitecourt, Storm coach Matt Keillor was looking for a significant bounce back effort against the top team in the North division.
Despite falling 3-2 to the Sherwood Park Crusaders on Saturday night, the coach was impressed with what he saw from his club.
?We wanted to see effort from start to finish, and that is one thing I did see from them.? said Keillor after the game. ?They showed me a level that we are capable of playing at, if they find a way to challenge themselves and really prepare themselves mentally more than anything else.?
?I call it a bit of a moral win for us.?
Sherwood Park opened the scoring late in the first period during a Storm power play, as AJHL leading scorer Carter Savoie converted a back-door feed from Michael Benning for his 27th of the season.
The Storm would get that goal back late in the second, as it was Nathan Morgan?s turn to get in behind the defence, and convert on a breakway after an alley-oop type feed from captain jackson Wozniak.
The goal was the seventh of the season for the Calgary native, who broke an 11 game goal scoring drought.
?He is so hard on himself, and we forget how young he is at times because he is so mature.? said Keillor. ?He is a really big part of this team and is going to be a very good hockey player for us now and in the future and we are looking for him to expedite the process and be that guy this year ?
The Storm opened the third period on a power play, and took their only lead of the night, as Jarin Sutton skated the puck in from the point and found a wide open Brody Dale in the left face-off circle, who wired home his team-leading eighth goal of the season just 40 seconds into the final frame.
The Crusaders tied it up just over two minutes later on an unassisted goal by Tanner Fincaryk, then re-took the lead for good after Savoie snuck behind the defence and beat Lars Kaliel on breakaway with just 3:19 left in the third.
Kaliel, who made 32 saves in a losing cause, was the second star on the night and drew high praise from his coach after the game.
?I thought Lars was just fantastic in net tonight,? said Keillor. ?He made some big saves and I felt he really gave us a chance from start to finish to collect some points.?
The Storm will hit the road for three games next weekend, starting Friday in Lloydminster.
After playing the Bobcats again on Saturday, they will move into Spruce Grove next Sunday for an afternoon affair against the Saints.
Photography by Tim Louttit | Story by Jeff Henson with EverythingGP