Grande Peace AAA Midget Storm goaltender Cameron Beson dives for a loose puck in front of the net in Alberta Midget Hockey League action against the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers at the Coca-Cola Centre on Saturday afternoon. The visitors picked up a 3-0 win and now have a 2-0 series lead in the best-of-five division semifinal. Game 3 is set for 4:45 p.m. in Fort Saskatchewan on Sunday.
Gordon Anderson / Grande Prairie Herald Tribune
The Grande Peace AAA Midget Storm dropped a 3-0 decision to the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers in Alberta Midget Hockey League (AMHL) playoff action at the Coca-Cola Centre Saturday afternoon.Coupled with a 4-3 overtime win on Thursday night, the Rangers have a 2-0 advantage in the best of five series. Game 3 is Sunday afternoon in Fort Saskatchewan with puck drop set for 4:45 p.m.While Rangers Goalie Sebastian Cossa was a veritable brick wall, stopping 39 shots for the win, it was the powerplay where Storm Assistant Coach Riley Boomgaarden noted the game was lost.“We had a couple of powerplays in the second period where we couldn’t get anything going,” Boomgaarden said. “I think that sucked the life out of us and I don’t think we quite recovered from that.”The home side trailed 2-0 in the second period but were gifted with a pair of five-on-three advantages and then squandered both of them.The first one was a 1:06 five-on-three with 9:31 left in the period and the second one was a 34-second opportunity with 3:03 left in the middle frame.Both man advantage opportunities shared a few commonalities: poor passing, static play in the offensive zone, poor decision making with the puck and a couple of icings made the whole production look untidy.The Storm also gave up a short-handed goal at 18:52 of the first period when Colton Dach scored on a breakaway to give the visitors a 1-0 lead after one period.“It was a turning point,” Boomgaarden said of the ineffective five-on-three advantages. “When you’re down in a tight game and you get that kind of opportunity, it’s frustrating for one.”Perhaps sensing the game was in the balance, the Storm called a timeout just before the second five-on-three but nothing changed the script.“[As a coaching staff we were] reassuring the guys and [trying to] calm them down,” Boomgaarden said. “They have more time out there than they think, and they don’t need to rush any plays. [We wanted to] make sure we had guys in front of the net and not shooting blindly on the goalie. Lots of things [were discussed but] it was more reassurance than it was anything else.”During the regular season, the Storm normally play eight games a month but, on this playoff run, the team has played seven games since the playoffs started on Feb. 20. Game eight will be Sunday afternoon.Boomgaarden noted fatigue might be a factor but no doubt the club is too busy thinking about a way to beat the Rangers for the first time this season. Adding the two regular season games into the mix—both losses—the Storm are 0-4 versus their upcoming opponent.“[Fatigue] might have something to do with it but it’s playoff time and you can’t be thinking about that stuff too much,” Boomgaarden said.Even though the club threw 39 shots on the Rangers net, the assistant coach thinks they can do more against the 6-foot-6 Rangers goalie.“We just need more shots in general,” Boomgaarden said. “I don’t personally feel he’s technically, maybe, as great as some other goalies, but he’s a big body. Moving him east to west would definitely help but even some screens in front. The more pucks you throw on the net [maybe] you get some bounces here or there and hopefully we get [some] luck.”Nate Ibraheem and Blair Boulerice also scored for the Rangers.Cameron Beson got the start in the net for the Storm and stopped 35 shots in the loss.