After finishing up the regular season on a 6-3-1 tear, the Grande Prairie Storm are setting their sights on an old rival to kick off the first round of the Alberta Junior Hockey League playoffs. The Storm are set to start the opening round of the AJHL playoffs against the Oil Barons in Fort McMurray Thursday night.
The Storm won just one of five outings against Fort Mac this season. The Oil Barons finished fourth in the north division with 73 points, while the Storm came in fifth with 64. Head Coach Matt Keillor says he knows it’s going to be a bruising series for both teams, but he likes his odds.
“I like our match up against Fort McMurray. I think it’s going to be a physical series, and both rinks are some of the best to play in the AJHL, so I think it’s going to be a good series.”
The Storm are back in the post-season for the third year in a row. They were swept out of the second round at the hands of Spruce Grove last spring. Prior to this latest run, Grande Prairie missed the playoffs entirely from 2014-2016.
Keillor believes Storm fans can do their part by making Revolution Place a formidable fortress for opposing teams. They’ll be in town on March 10th for game three.
“I think the fans were fantastic in our home and home series against Bonnyville. You know, 2,500 people in the crowd, with the warm-up the bus chants, it was pretty spectacular to see. It was like having a 6th player on the ice. I know it’s going to be a vibrant series and I hope to give the fans what they’re looking for.”
Game 1: Thursday, March 7th – Grande Prairie v. Fort McMurray, Casman Arena
Game 2: Friday, March 8th – Grande Prairie v. Fort McMurray, Casman Arena
Game 3: Sunday, March 10th – Fort McMurray v. Grande Prairie, Revolution Place
Game 4* Monday, March 11th – Fort McMurray v. Grande Prairie, Revolution Place
Game 5* Wednesday, March 13th – Grande Prairie v. Fort McMurray, Casman Arena