MOLINE, Ill. — A weekend of surprises was in store for the Quad City Storm, taking on a very familiar opponent and one of growing familiarity. The three-game series against the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs wrapped up on Saturday, while a short road trip to Peoria Sunday was the penultimate journey down I-74 for the Storm.
The Storm got themselves into the same trouble on Friday as they often do: get into a hole in the first period and be unable to dig themselves out again in the rest of the game. Friday was the 15th game lost by a single goal for the Storm, and it’s obvious that the same mistake is being repeated again and again. They come out on their heels to start the game, let the other team strike first, regroup in the locker room and come out with intensity for the second period, but most of the time it’s too late. With a current record of 14-27-4 and being 12 points out of a playoff berth, it’s probably too late in the season for a sudden change of strategy.
Eleven games remain in the season, and to secure a spot in the post-season, the Storm would need to win six games while Pensacola would need to go on an eleven game losing streak. If it was a Disney movie and that happened, all but the youngest of viewers would call horsefeathers on it. The Storm need to focus on finishing out the season with some more wins and building for next season.
“We had opportunities, two breakaways, disallowed goals. You know, that’s hockey, and it’s the way it’s gonna be, but at the same time you gotta push through and limit the opportunities from the other team,” said coach Dave Pszenyczny following Friday’s 3-2 loss.
The Storm then used all their scoring ability for the weekend on Saturday, when they kept Roanoke from sweeping them with a 6-3 home team victory. Three straight goals in the middle frame cemented the two points, but it was three straight goals the following night that ended the win streak before it could be a streak.
Going in to their third straight game in as many days, and the seventh game in 11 days, the Storm were beat up. “Well, we need bodies, and with the injuries that we have that technically don’t deem a 30 day [IR], my active roster is full,” said Pszenyczny Friday about signing Dominik Horvath and Bryan Hovanec the day before. “So that being said, you know, I had to release [Ondrej] Misovic the other day to open up another spot for Sunday, because I got a guy on a three-gamer right now, so it wouldn’t make sense to bring in a guy on that spot and release him before the game.”
In recent games in the so-called Cold War on 74, two referees have been required in order to prevent mischief and mayhem from wreaking havoc on the ice. The two referees might have been a blessing and a curse for the Storm on Sunday, as the visitors had to kill eight penalties; Peoria, on the other hand, had only four to kill. Another nail in the coffin so to speak for the Storm on Sunday was when a time out was called for them with 3.1 seconds remaining in the second period. The only problem was, Pszenyczny hadn’t called for one. Instead of being able to use his time out later in the game when they were down 2-0, it was wasted immediately before an intermission.
The teams managed to hold on to a scoreless tie until just 32 seconds remained in the second period. Both teams were on their third game in less than 48 hours, and neither played up to the bar that they could have on a different day. Each team had good effort, but Peoria took advantage of the defensive breakdowns to win the game with a shut-out the night after being shut-out themselves by the Knoxville Ice Bears.
The Storm will have Hawaiian Shirt Night on Friday, March 8, with a specialty KISS jersey the following night for KISS Night. The members of KISS also have signed personalized jerseys that will be auctioned off along with the players’ jerseys following Saturday’s game. There will also be an attempt to break the World Record for most KISS masks in one place in a photo on Saturday, as the first 4,000 fans in attendance will receive a KISS cardboard mask.
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