The Storm remain in a tight battle atop the VIJHL standings with the Nanaimo Buccaneers – as they have been much of the season – and they kept pace this weekend with a tie at home and a dominating win on the road.
Friday night was a goaltending clinic from both Storm goaltender Liam Murphy and Saanich’s Riley Mathieson.
Despite generating 14 shots on Mathieson in the first period night, only Jake McKenzie managed to get one by him.
Ryan Strange tied the game for Saanich midway through the second, and the teams traded goals in the third. Overtime wouldn’t solve anything and both teams walked away with one point after the 2-2 tie.
“They’ve always played a gritty game,” coach Lee Stone says. “But there’s also a lot of skill at the front end of their lineup, all their D move the puck very effectively, and when you’ve got Riley Mathieson in net…well, they’re a team that whoever gets them in the first round (of the playoffs) is going to be in a lot of trouble. They’re going to be a team that’s pushing to play in the finals this year.”
The next night was a completely different story, however, when the Storm headed down Island to take on the Oceanside Generals.
It took the Storm a whole period to get going, but once Reid Wheeldon opened the scoring with an unassisted marker early in the second, it opened the flood gates. Dylan McCann and Keenan Toal would add singles on the night, and Brett Kinley would add two, as well. Carson Shamerhorn would stop all the shots he faced until he and former Storm goaltender Spencer Deakin had it out during a fight midway through the third period and were both ejected.
“It was a bit of a slow start, for sure,” head coach Lee Stone told Mark Berry after the game during the Storm’s postgame show. “But I thought in the first intermission we did a great job of focusing the room and understanding what we needed to do, which was getting pucks to the net.”
That’s somewhat of an understatement. The Storm were hard on their former goaltender peppering both he and backup Jacob Sweet with over 50 shots on the night, 27 of which were in the second period alone.
The Storm now travel to Nanaimo to take on the Buc’s Thursday night and are back at home Friday to face the struggling Comox Valley Glacier Kings. They then travel back down Island to Victoria to take on the Cougars on Sunday.
Puck drop for Friday’s home game is 7:30 p.m.