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Loss Means Storm Finish In 7th
Posted March 4th, 2017 @ 11:18 pm

The Grande Prairie Storm found out on Saturday night they will finish in seventh place in the North Division of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

They will have to wait until the final game of the regular season Sunday to find out what team they will be playing in a best-of-five quarterfinal.

A 3-0 loss on home ice in their final regular season game, combined with a Drayton Valley Thunder 6-5 upset win over the first place Fort McMurray Oil Barons, relegated the Storm to seventh place, a point back of the sixth place Thunder.

The Storm finished the regular season with 15 wins, 38 losses and seven overtime losses while the Thunder ended up 17-39-4.

The 37 points the Storm collected this season is their highest total since the 2013-14 season, when they had 45. Last year they had 26 and the year before that 34.

They are making a playoff appearance for the first time since the 2012-13 season.

And when the final game of the season is played Sunday in Whitecourt between the Wolverines and Oil Barons the Storm will likely be hoping for a MOB win. The Storm play the second place finisher in the first round.

Fort Mac leads the Wolverines by a point heading into the finale and the Thunder hold the tie-breaker edge if there is a tie in points.

The Storm lost all six to the MOB over the regular season scoring just four times. They had a win in six games against the Wolverines - a 5-4 victory in the last game between the two clubs.

Saturday night against the Pontiacs Storm head coach/general manager Matt Keillor was able to rest some regulars opting to give midget-aged defenceman Clayton Nevil and forwards Eric Sorenson, Austin Schellenberg and Logan Moon some Junior A experience. Midget netminder Ashton Abel dressed as the backup.

As a result the offence sputtered managing just 13 shots and few quality scoring chances.

After a scoreless first the Pontiacs, who finished 41 points ahead of the Storm in the North standings, scored twice in the second and then salted it away with late-third tally.

Bonnyville netminder Robert Jacobson recorded his fourth shutout of the season while Mitchell Oliver, Zach Ashton and Brendan Holterhus scored the goals. Xavier Burghardt got the Storm start looking at 37 shots.

It wasn't all bad news for the Storm. One of the largest crowds of the season - 1,673 - showed up for the game and the 50/50 was $5,680.

While they don't yet know who they will be playing, the Storm do know their first home game of the playoffs in four years will be on Sunday, March 12.

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