In period one up in Grande Prairie, #3 Austin Yadlowski started things off right for the Thunder by dropping one in the net at the 4 minute mark when he was assisted by Cole Dunphy. Thunder was able to stay in control for the entire first two periods with a lead of 1-0.
In the second period, it was nothing but a north-south hockey game and seemed to be a pretty even hockey game. There was lots of puck dumping and grinding in the corners but nothing materialized for either team. Whenever Grande Prairie made an attempt to bring the puck down, Thunder kept the neutral zone bottled up preventing GP from setting anything up.
It was the third period that things got real busy for both goalies. GP scored first but #18 Jordan Baillie answered back quickly with back-to-back goals in the early part of the third period. Then closer to the half way mark, the Storm scored two to tied it up. But when #9 Brendan McKay caught hold of a bouncing puck that #28 Neil Tarnasky sent his way, Brendan reacted quickly and stuffed it behind the GP goalie while he was still looking for it. This goal was the turning point for the Drayton Valley Thunder putting Thunder back out in front with this 4-3 lead.
Then it got real intense for those watching the game in the final minute. The Storm pulled their goalie giving them the extra attacker and they put on the pressure until there was 45.4 seconds left in the third when GP took a time out. But our Drayton Valley Thunder hung on with the 4-3 win against the Strom.
It was great to see #18 Jordan Baillie back on the score sheet with his two beauties earning him the Away Star in the last game of the regular season for Thunder. Keep those goals in mind Jordan as we will be looking for points like that in the playoffs from you. Way to go Jordan!
Now the playoffs officially begin for Thunder. Our Drayton Valley Thunder will be playing the Bonnyville Pontiacs in the first round of playoffs with them having home-ice advantage. Thunder should be traveling to Bonnyville for two games back to back on March 5th and 6th and then back to Drayton Valley for a game on Friday, March 8th. Then, since this round is best of five, if needed, there could be another game at home on Saturday March 9th and then back to Bonnyville on Monday, March 11th. So now it is time to pull out all the jerseys, bells, whistles and horns and the neighbors down the street. Let’s pack the house and show Bonnyville what we are made of. See you there on Friday, March 9th for Thunder’s first playoff action.