MOLINE, Ill. – The Quad City Storm faced two opponents over the span of three days, both being in a close battle with the Storm for the final playoff spots. With the bottom four teams all within just one victory of each other, every game is a hard fought contest.
The Storm looked hungry for two points on Sunday, something that was lacking on Friday. The passing was crisper, they controlled play often, and they came back from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game in the third period and force overtime.
“Yeah, [they competed], being down two to come back. Obviously things are taken out of our hands, nothing we can control, right? So we controlled what we can. but unfortunately, at the end of the day, there’s other people that dictate the outcome of the game,” said Head Coach Dave Pszenyczny after Sunday’s matinee against the Birmingham Bulls.
On Friday, the Storm looked disorganized and half-asleep for much of the game. Offsides galore were called against Quad City, and passing was to invisible players when there was passing. There was a brief stretch in the second period — just over three minutes long — that doomed the Storm to a loss against the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs. In that period of time, Roanoke scored four even-strength goals which would sink Quad City.
When asked what went wrong in that frame, Pszenyczny said:
“Just selfishness. Just guys not playing the system…not executing, not taking the body, wanting extra steps at the blueline. it was just disgusting.”
The Storm sat back in the final minute of Saturday’s contest after a game that was adequate. After gaining a two-goal lead late in the second period, the Storm sought to play keep away for the rest of the third and add an insurance goal. With under a minute left and one goal the difference between the teams, the Storm thought the victory was assured. They let off, allowing their second short-handed goal of the night to let Roanoke force overtime with just thirty seconds left in regulation. Though the Storm would win the game in OT, it wasn’t a pretty result.
Assistant coach Jake Toporowski said after Saturday’s match:
“I thought we competed hard for the majority of the game. there at the end, we kind of let down. We knew they’d be looking for a shortie, and we let them get it, let them tie the game, and it ended up costing us an important point down the stretch.”
Though not a result of Quad City’s play, it is worth mentioning that the Storm went to overtime for a second night in a row on Sunday. The winning goal was the result of an uncalled tripping penalty against Cole Golka as he crossed the blueline into the offensive zone. He lost the puck, and Birmingham began a rush up the ice that would result in the lamp being lit behind Ryan Mulder.
Earlier in the game at roughly the 12:50 mark of the second period, Joe Sova believed he had scored through a scrum in the crease of Artt Brey. Watching the replay, it appeared evident that the puck crossed the line before bouncing out and being covered by a skater’s hand. No penalty was called for delay of game, nor was the goal awarded.
“[The trip was] pretty blatant,” said Pszenyczny. “You know, the most frustrating thing is when the referee comes over and tells me before the third period that he messed up on the [Sova] goal. that should’ve counted for us.”
The Storm played evenly with the Bulls on Sunday, and even against Roanoke on Saturday. It’s easy to see why those three teams, plus the Macon Mayhem, make up the bottom four teams of the standings and are separated by three points from sixth to tenth.
Quad City travels to Knoxville this coming weekend before returning home for St Patrick’s Day to face the Evansville Thunderbolts. Both games in Tennessee will be at 7:35 EDT, while Tuesday’s St Patrick’s Day game will be at 7:10 CDT.
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