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OT Loss Ties Series
Posted March 8th, 2018 @ 11:12 pm

The 50/50 was almost $10,000; the attendance was almost 1,500; and the Grande Prairie Storm almost won a hockey game on Thursday night.

While the first two were good for the Storm financial bottom line the third was bad news all the way around.

The Storm fell 3-2 in overtime to the Sherwood Park Crusaders in Revolution Place Arena in a best-of-five Alberta Junior Hockey League quarterfinal that is now tied at 1-1 after two games in GP. Games 3 and 4 in the series go in Sherwood Park Saturday-Sunday and if one team doesn't win both games there will be a Game 5 in Grande Prairie on March 14.

The winning goal came off the stick of Dylan Stewart 8:20 into the first five-on-five, 20-minute overtime period.

The Crusaders, who finished in fifth behind the fourth place Storm in the AJHL North standings, had fallen behind twice before rallying for what was the biggest win of their season.

The Storm opened the scoring 4:38 into the first when Christopher Lanouette's point shot deflected off of a Crusader player en route to the net.

It was the first salvo in what turned out to be a four-goal opening frame.

Tyson Gruninger tied it at 1-1 at 13:37 when he and Ty Readman broke in on a two-on-one. Gruninger did a good job to corral the puck stretching out while flipping it over Storm netminder Ethan Slobodzian.

Just over two minutes later, at 15:45, Dallas Comeau found Edouard Michaud in the slot and his backhander went high over Crusader netminder Brandon Vogel's shoulder to put the Storm ahead by a goal for the second time in the period.

With just 24 seconds to go in the opening frame the Crusaders tied it at 2-2 on the powerplay when Readman poked the puck through Slobodzian.

There was no scoring in the second or third setting up Stewart's heroics in OT.

He gobbled up a puck that had fallen into the crease behind Slobodzian pushing it into the open net sending the almost-1,500 fans home disappointed . . . all, that is, expect for the person who won the 50/50 pot.

Unlike Game 1 there were no  face-washing or post-whistle shenanigans with just 12 minors total and six powerplays for each team.

Sherwood Park pretty much controlled the overtime out-shooting the Storm 12-1 in the extra frame.

They ended up with a 39-31 advantage in shots on goal.

Meanwhile, it took two overtimes for the Fort McMurray Oil Barons to defeat the Bonnyville Pontiacs 3-2 Thursday as all other AJHL best-of-five quarterfinals kicked off.

The other North Division playoff game saw the Whitecourt Wolverines down the Lloydminster Bobcats 4-2. In the South Division the Brooks Bandits downed the Canmore Eagles 6-1; the Drumheller Dragons defeated the Calgary Canucks 6-3; and the Camrose Kodiaks topped the Calgary Mustangs 5-1.

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