Campbell River Storm

By Warren Andrews, Campbell River Storm

Campbell River, BC (ISN) – The Campbell River Storm and Oceanside Generals gave a full house at the Rod Brind’Amour Arena their money’s worth in the season opener for both clubs Friday, as the Storm would prevail 3-2 in a shootout.

After an opening ceremony that featured a spotlight and smoke show, along with the naming of James Bryant as captain, and a ceremony honoring the Bantams who won provincials last spring, the crowd was fired up and so were both teams.

In fact, both teams went unbeaten in exhibition, and both were looking to carry on that trend. Early in the first Chris Critchley had the best chance, sent in on a breakaway before being stopped by Oceanside’s Alex Mastrodonato. Neither team would light the red lamp. Shots were 12-8 in favor of the Storm.

In the second, rookie Jamie Severs was the recipient of a Storm bounce. Jesse Spooners’ errant pass skipped off the stick of a Gen’s defender, landed on Severs stick, he made a few moves before slipping the puck past Mastrodonato’s 5 hole. 1-0 Campbell River just over 5 minutes into the middle frame. The Generals waited 5 minutes before responding on the powerplay. A beautiful point shot from the right wing by Keenan McConnell was tipped by Lee Orpen past the Storm’s Jordy Salas. 1-1.

The turning point of the game happened with 8 and ½ minutes left in the 2nd. Greg Tuckerman was assessed a 7 minute penalty and game misconduct, and the Generals power play had ample time to take the lead. Solid penalty killing by the likes of Mikey Markland and Chris Critchley allwed the Storm to kill it off, and had the game deadlocked at 1 heading into the third. Shots were 13-8 for the Visitors.

No scoring until late in the 3rd. The Storm’s Alex Grupe was denied on his first attempt on the power play, but perservered and on a scramble, put the puck home and gave the Storm a 2-1 lead with just 3 and ½ minutes to go. Oceanside would tie it up some 40 seconds later. Shane Dial’s backhand beat a screened Salas, so we went to overtime tied at 2. Shots were 11-9 Storm.

Overtime solved nothing, despite 9 shots between the two teams. So we headed to the shootout. The way Salas and Mastrodonato were playing, you figured this one could go on a few hours. Both goaltenders made jaw dropping saves throughout the game. In fact Salas stopped all 3 shooters he faced in Lim, Gray and Dial. As for Oceanside’s Mastrodonato, he saw Alex Benjestorf ring his shot off the post, then Tyson Rennie had his shot thwarted by the Gen’s keeper, which meant Carson McCullough had the final chance to play hero. And he did!

The Storm won 3-2, the fans left home happy and both teams have a replay Saturday night in Parksville. Catch the game with Dom Abassi