The pre-season thus far has really personified what it is like to be a fan of the Manchester Storm. Playing against Manitoba, the Storm lads were lions and they were completely ferocious in both offence and defense and dispatched the young lads from the other side of the pond in a fiery affair.
Playing against Odense however, that match was probably one of the worst displays of Ice Hockey I have ever had the misfortune to experience and is one of the reasons I neglected to cover it, it was a disgrace.
Step forward Aalborg Pirates, the champions of Denmark have featured a few familiar faces to the EIHL, Bryce Reddick and Matt Pope of the Cardiff Devils both featured for the Pirates, as did freshly signed Milton Keynes Lightening defender Clay Anderson.
The Danish lads have a very strong pedigree and the Storm should be put to the test in this match.
A recurring theme in this pre-season is the amount of penalties that the Storm are taking and this match is no different with both Moffat and Linden Springer sitting out for holding and roughing. I am a big fan of being a tough no-nonsense team but you have got to know when to draw the line and conceding early wouldn’t be the most sensible idea after the previous nights loss.
Thankfully the Storm didn’t concede, they struck first with Captain Dane Byers sliding home a Moffat assist in the 11th minute to take the Manchester boys into the lead.
A lead they would extend just 5 minutes later thanks once again to a Captain fantastic solo effort, the Storm went on the power play thanks to Lasse Bo Knudsen serving a 2 minute slashing penalty.
The Pirates were playing incredibly fast paced hockey that was well suited to the small Altrincham rink and fought off the Manchester Power Play several times, going down to 3 men at one point as the Storm were unable to capitalize on the opportunity.
Declan Balmer was called just after the break for slashing and Aalborg managed to get themselves onto the score sheet with Korsgaard slipping the puck 5-hole on the new Storm goalie Jindrich Pacl.
The Aalborg celebrations were short-lived however as the Storm struck once again, Richardson fired home just over a minute later, assisted by Logan MacMillan.
Jindrich Pacl had an outstanding series of saves in the second period as he faced 17 shots and kept them all out in his first team debut, the young Czech tender having a fantastic time between the sticks.
The third period saw the Storm catch fire as the unleashed a further 4 goals past the Aalborg goalkeeper, Logan MacMillan unleashed a fantastic one-timer goal on his debut to open his account assisted by Linsmayer and Richardson. Captain fantastic managed to snag his first hat-trick of the season as he poked home a power play goal, Mikkel Hjøbjerg was penalised for hooking and the rest was history.
Mikkel Hjøbjerg was once again shown the sin bin for a delayed hit which again resulted in the Storm scoring on the power play, this time it was Ciaran Long that wristed top shelf.
With only 8-minutes left to play, the match looked once more to be taking a sinister turn after storm players were given penalties for cross-checking, holding and tripping but what followed was even stranger…
The Storm would have scored a seventh goal but it was waved off, this was due to an error over at the penalty box, an error that caused Manchester to have too many men on the ice, with Basara being released too early.
Basara’s breakaway goal was a disappointing one to be ruled out, but hopefully is a sign of things to come from the Canadian forward who spent last season touring the ECHL.
The final goal however came from Dallas Ehrhardt and the crowd loved it, Dallas is without a doubt a fan favourite at the Storm shelter and will definitely be one to watch throughout the season as he hopes to continue the fantastic form that saw him help Great Britain into the top-level of World Hockey since 1994!
The Manchester team are looking Strong and if they can keep everyone fit and healthy they look like they could be on target to maintain the conference title this year.