Gus Correale celebrated his 19th birthday Saturday by helping the Grande Prairie Storm sweep their two games in Spruce Grove, Alta., during the annual Alberta Junior Hockey League Showcase weekend.
The former Cariboo Cougar had two assists in a 7-1 win Friday over the Canmore Eagles and then helped lead the Storm to a 4-2 win over the Calgary Canucks.
Correale is in his third season with the the Storm. The right-winger returned to Prince George in September when the Storm played a home-and-home exhibition series with the Spruce Kings. After the Storm (4-3-1), usually an AJHL powerhouse, exited the playoffs early last spring, Correale said he's determined to lead the team deeper this year.
"I'm looking to be a leader on the team and hopefully help the team win the championship," said Correale. "Personally for stats, I'm just looking to have a great season and help the linemates out. I remember being a young guy and it's nerve-wracking but I just try to help out and let the guys know that it goes by quick so take every moment and always be ready."
After eight regular season games, Correale has six goals and 10 points, leading the Storm and sitting 10th in AJHL scoring.
Before joining his older brother Dan in Grande Prairie, he spent time in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League with Nelson. Correale said his goal is to follow Dan's path to the NCAA. Dan Correale, 21, is in his freshman season with the University of New Hampshire Wildcats. He finished his junior A career with the Nanaimo Clippers last season reuniting with former Storm coach Mike Vandekamp.
"He's been through it all so he knows exactly what to do," said Correale about talking with Dan about his future education options.
Storm coach Blaine Bablitz said he was counting on Correale to help guide the team to the inaugural Western Canada championship in Nanaimo next April.
"Gus is emerging as a top forward on our hockey team and within our league," said Bablitz. "He's going to be a go-to guy for us upfront. I'll look for him to contribute offensively every night."
The Correale family left Prince George and moved to Edmonton about a year ago.