MOLINE, Ill. — The Quad City Storm faced the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs for the first time this season in a match-up that could help decide the playoff appearance for the newest SPHL team. The Storm are eight points out of playoff contention currently, the Pensacola Ice Flyers holding the eighth and final spot for the Challenge Round come April. The Peoria Rivermen and Birmingham Bulls have already clinched first and second seed respectively, meaning only six more positions are up for grabs. Quad City doesn’t seem to want to last longer than April 6, however.
The Storm lacked drive for most of Tuesday’s contest against Roanoke. The defensive zone was atrocious for much of the game, defensive lapses and being caught flat-footed leading to a deficit of 4-0 with seven minutes left in the middle frame. Digging out of a four-goal deficit is a rare feat, and the Storm couldn’t pull it off.
The thing that confuses me most is the fact that the Storm PK unit is so good, yet even strength or power play scoring is so low. The intensity present during the penalty kill is unmatched through the rest of the game, which doesn’t bode well for a team supposedly fighting for a playoff berth.
Quad City seems to be a team of odd nights; they rarely put together a winning streak. The longest span of consecutive victories for the Storm this season came between November 17 and November 30th, four games split between Pensacola and the Evansville Thunderbolts. The only other back to back victories were tallied on December 31st and January 4th against Peoria and Evansville respectively, and February 9th and 15th against Peoria and the Macon Mayhem. The Storm last weekend won against Knoxville on Thursday, lost to Evansville Friday, and then beat Evansville the next night. With a loss against Roanoke on Tuesday, does that mean a win is in the cards for Quad City on Friday? That’s up to the players.
Coach Dave Pszenyczny doesn’t like what’s been going on in the ice lately.
“[I’m] disappointed because we keep digging ourselves deeper. I mean, there’s no urgency. We’re trying to make playoffs, and that’s what we do at home. I mean, it’s frustrating,” said Pszenyczny.
The Storm need to take what energy they have for the penalty kill and spread it to the rest of the game because their performance has gotten to the point where it’s almost laughable. Mind-boggling is another word that’s apt because the team has shown by beating Peoria and Knoxville that they are fully capable of playing with the top teams. The team needs to learn how to not sit back on their heels for what feels like half the games this season; once they learn to apply the urgency of their penalty kill unit and the games against Peoria, they could go far.
One bright spot of the game was Alex Basey, newly signed blue-liner for the Storm. He has spent most of the last two seasons in the FHL with the Danville Dashers, but he did well for the Storm for their weekday game.
“[He] did everything I asked; keep it simple, move the puck, and he ended up getting an assist out of it. I don’t think it’s any secret you keep the game simple and it becomes easier,” Coach Pszenyczny said about Basey’s game Tuesday.
The Storm will face the Rail Yard Dawgs again on Friday and Saturday, both games with puck drops scheduled for 7:10 CST. Be sure to follow @SinBinStorm on Twitter for the latest news on the newest SPHL team.