HOME GAME 14 RECAP: SAINTS FALL 4-3 TO STORM
By Adam Kulak
It was a fast-paced game that featured lots of goals, but it would be the Grande Prairie Storm that would come out on the right side of the score. Some lineup notes for the game as Kieran Ruscheinski was called up and would play on a pairing with Jaxsen Wyatt. After a stellar performance in Drayton Valley on Friday, Liam McCloskey would get the start again in this one.
It was a very up tempo opening 20 minutes in this game with both teams getting good looks in the period. Grande Prairie plays fast, and they transition the puck very well, they really focused on controlled zone entries and tried to over whelm the Saints depleted blueline with speed. Skating and moving their feet would draw a tripping penalty and they would capitalize on the man advantage. Zachary Okabe took a feed from Connor Blake to beat Liam McCloskey for the 1-0 lead. The Saints used their speed as well as their cycle game to generate quality shots but couldn’t solve Kaeden Lane as the period would remain 1-0. Shots in the period were 14-8 for the Saints after 20 minutes.
The Saints did a good job of taking away Grande Prairie’s speed in the 2nd period. They started to hem the Storm in their own zone more by using their forecheck and causing turnovers. The Storm’s Powerplay continued to be hot as they would get another Powerplay goal 8 minutes into the period. Storm captain Connor Blake beat Liam McCloskey on a cross crease feed from Walker Cote to give the Storm a 2-0 lead. The Saints continued to stick with it and Jake Ashton on the doorstep would get the Saints on the board a few minutes later with his 2nd of the season. A little later with 5 minutes left, Daron Cyr would let a shot go from the point and Seth Fyten would get a stick on it for his 3rd of the season to tie the game up at 2. A scrum with a minute left in the period led to a couple penalties and some 4v4 play. Shots were 17-6 for the Saint in the period and the 3rd would start with 1:30 of 4v4 time.
It was a hard-fought game all night and that would continue in the final 20 minutes. The Saints gave everything they could with the lineup they had and peppered Kaeden Lane with shots. But the biggest difference tonight was special teams, they took a lot of penalties and Grande Prairie burned them with 3 powerplay goals. Cole Basnett and Devin Aubin would get coincidental minors and Grande Prairie would score during the 4v4, Tyrell Boucher would take a feed from Connor Blake to give the Storm back the lead. That lead wouldn’t last too long as Stanley Cooley intercepted a pass and broke in on a 2 on 1 and fed Logan Ganie for his 8th of the season to tie it right back up. Unfortunately, the Saints put themselves down two men a few minutes later to put themselves in more trouble. The Storm capitalized on the 5v3 for their 3rd powerplay goal of the night from Zachary Okabe and that would be the dagger as the Saints drop this one 4-3 here at Grant Fuhr Arena.
The Saints are back in action Tuesday as they are back in Drayton Valley to take on the Thunder. They are back home Friday as they welcome the North Division leading Bonnyville Pontiacs, puck drop at 7:00pm.