The Grande Prairie Storm have one more chance to prove to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons that, should the two teams meet at some point down the playoff road, the oilsands city team will be in for a battle.
That chance comes on Saturday when the Storm host the MOB in Revolution Arena in downtown Grande Prairie.
Friday night was the fifth game of six regular season tilts between the two teams.
So far not so good for the Storm.
The MOB blanked the Storm 5-0 and are 5-0 on the season in games between the two. Friday's loss was the third time Fort Mac shut out the Storm, who have scored just three times in those five games while allowing 30.
Finding a way to beat the MOB may, however, be the least of Storm head coach/general manager Matt Keillor's concerns heading into the final eight games of the regular season on Saturday.
Keeping hold of a playoff spot - somewhere the Storm haven't been since 2012-13 - is no doubt more of a concern.
The Storm loss, combined with a Lloydminster Bobcats 3-2 win over the Okotoks OIlers, has moved the eighth place Bobcats to within five points of the sixth place Storm in the Alberta Junior Hockey League North Divsion.
The Drayton Valley Thunder sit in seventh just two back of the Storm. Both the Thunder and Bobcats have two games in hand. Seven teams make the playoffs.
The sixth to eighth scenario sets up a huge weekend next week when the Storm are in Drayton Valley Thursday and Lloydminster on Friday and Saturday.
Friday's game against the Oil Barons was closer then the final score indicated.
The visitors led 1-0 after the first on a goal by local product Brett Edwards, a long wrist shot, and then went up 2-0, another long wrist shot, at 3:06 of the second when Nicolas Leeseberg scored.
Some key stops by MOB netminder Eric Szudor, one on a breakway right after the second goal and then another at 8:33, kept the Storm off the board. With 20 seconds remaining in the middle frame the Storm hit a post and Szudor's shutout was intact heading into the final period.
When Jackson McKinstry scored at 6:13 of the third to make it 3-0 that pretty much sealed up the game for Fort McMurray meaning goals by Jordan Steenbergen (11:51) and Hayden Ursulak (17:11) were some unecessary added value.
The shutout was Szudor's fifth of the season. He made 30 saves while Arik Weersink had to handle 20 in the GP net.
The game was a fundrasier for Heart & Stroke. The Storm wore special jerseys that were auctioned off. A nice crowd of 1,327 showed up to support the cause.
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