Wozniak & Special Teams Power Storm to Comeback Win

Make it two in a row for the Grande Prairie Storm.

Jackson Wozniak scored his first goal of the season with 3:13 remaining in the third period, breaking the deadlock and giving the Storm their second straight victory with a 4-3 win over the Whitecourt Wolverines Tuesday night at Revolution Place.

Like Friday?s game against the Fort McMurray Oil Barons, the Storm fell behind 2-0 off two quick goals in the first period. Ethan Green would score on the power play, while a minute and one second later, Cassidy Bowes would finish off a two-one-one, putting the visitors up two after the opening 20 minutes.

Head Coach Matt Keillor says that was the exact opposite of what he asked of his team before the game.

?Right on my game card, I put that we need to win the special teams game, we need to win the net game and we need to win the physical game,? said Keillor. ?So, we came in after the first period and I looked at it and said they scored a power play goal and we weren?t physical at all.?

Re-challenging his squad seemed to work out, as the Storm answered back in the middle frame with two goals of their own. Nathaniel Bierd would chip in his third of the season just under a minute into the second, while Brody Dale would tie it up on the power play less than five minutes later.

That power play continued to flex its muscles in the third. After Will Spitzer scored early in period to re-take the lead for Whitecourt, Devin Sutton finished off a nice feed from Cade Mason on a four-on-three power play midway through the frame to tie it back up at three.

The Storm would then seal a victory with Wozniak?s first of the year, jamming in the puck in tight on Wolverines goalie Vincent Duplessis on the power play.

After being held goalless through his first 21 games of the season, Wozniak grabbed the figurative monkey off his back while skating by his own bench in celebration, throwing it off into the crowd.

Keillor, and the rest of his team, were elated to see their captain finally get rewarded.

?The bench erupted. That?s one you need, especially the game winner,? said Keillor.

?The guys are rooting for him. They know how hard he works every day, and he wants it bad. There is no doubt in my mind they we picked a great captain.?

That goal, plus the Storm?s special teams were ultimately the difference makers. The Storm finished three-for-five on the man advantage, while killing off seven of the eight penalty kills (eight of the nine if you count the Dale cross checking penalty with two seconds to go).

After a slow start to the season in that department, the Storm have started to seemingly turn a corner when it comes to special teams. Keillor credits the consistency they?ve built with that.

?Since game 15, we?ve had set power play units and we have set PK units,? said Keillor. ?With the practice time that we?ve had on special teams, we?ve started to see a little bit better results.?

The Storm and Wolverines will clash again on Friday night in Whitecourt. The Storm will then return home on Saturday to face the North Division leading Sherwood Park Crusaders.

Photography by Tammenthia Diesel | Story by Shaun Penner with EverythingGP