MOLINE, Ill. — The season series between the Peoria Rivermen and Quad City Storm, dubbed the Cold War on 74, has finally finished for the 2018-19 season. A little over a quarter of the season for each team was spent facing the other, 16 games in total. A final record of 13-2-1 for Peoria in the series was the result after a home-and-home weekend set which saw them capture four points.
There was plenty of physicality both nights, though Friday’s antics were all Peoria’s game. The Storm was able to stay out of the penalty box, but couldn’t capitalize on any of the five chances they had when Peoria players sat in the terrarium of iniquity. Even during a five-minute long man-advantage late in the second period and to start the third period, no goals were scored by the home team Friday night while on the power play.
The Storm power play unit got off to a shaky start, as the first goal of the night was a short-handed marker by Greenberg during the second penalty kill for his team. The forward went on a breakaway, the defense being unable to corral him as he streaked down the ice. Quad City had been unable to put pressure on Stephen Klein during the first man-advantage, as they had difficulties getting out of their defensive zone. They were able to bring play up the ice to Peoria’s zone for the latter play, but Greenberg’s tally restored power to the visitors even though roughly 30 seconds remained in the 5-on-4 stretch.
Peoria controlled play for much of the game, which doesn’t come as a surprise as they are once again the number one seed in the league. In fact, Peoria is one point away from beating the all-time SPHL points record (83); the record is currently held by the 2015-16 Rivermen team.
The Storm played short-handed for most of Friday’s match, as Al Graves left the game late in the first period after delivering a hit in the right corner by Ryan Mulder. He also didn’t play Saturday, but even with the addition of Jarrett Pfeiffer and moving Paul Fregeau back in the line up to take Shane Bennett’s spot, Saturday’s Storm line-up still had 16 skaters.
Saturday’s game, the last time the two teams would face off before the 2019-20 season, was a closer game in some regards. Even though the score was slightly more lopsided at 4-1 rather than the 3-1 of the night prior, it was the result of bounces not going the way the Storm wanted rather than effort. Perhaps carrying the Cold War on 74 Cup on the bus to Peoria motivated the team to put in a little extra oomph in their hits and shots. Still, Peoria controlled possession for a fair amount of the game, but Quad City was able to throw more shots on net during their possessions than they had the night prior.
The Storm were able to stay out of the box for most of the game, only giving the Rivermen a single chance on the man-advantage. However, a single chance on the power play was all Peoria needed, as they capitalized on Dalton Mills’ break in the sin bin shortly after it began.
“I thought the effort was there,” said coach Dave Pszenyczny after Saturday’s matchup. “[Peoria] capitalized on all their chances, you know; we had some hit the crossbar, we had one right across the goal crease, we had one on the power play, and I thought that was the difference. I can accept the way we played today was a lot better with the physicality and as far as the emotion and effort than last night. It’s never easy to say that you accept losing, but with the effort that we brought tonight it was much better than last night.”
The Storm will go on their final road trip of the season next weekend, as they travel to Huntsville for two games.
“I would assume they’re probably going to be resting players, so we have to take advantage of that. Every time we seem to play them we spot them a few goals early, so we’ve got to be prepared right from the puck drop and just take it to them,” said Pszenyczny.
Both games in Huntsville on Friday and Saturday will feature a 7 pm CT puck drops. Be sure to follow @SinBinStorm on Twitter for live updates and the latest news.