MOLINE, Ill. — The Quad City Storm got off to a rocky start in their inaugural season, not capturing two points since their SPHL debut on October 20 until this weekend. The northern Illinois-based team managed to keep one point in their 6-5 overtime loss to Birmingham on November 9, but allowing six straight goals meant it was a hollow one point. The longest losing streak in Storm history ended on November 17, four weeks after the last victory for the team, in Pensacola.
The Storm went on their first real road trip of the season this weekend, starting in Birmingham and ending in Pensacola. The team had gone on one very short road trip on November 2, when they traveled 90 miles southeast to Peoria, but such a short distance doesn’t allow for much bonding on the bus. Could the first road trip have been a boon for the team? Possibly. It’s possible the losing streak could have ended sooner if there had been a road trip sooner. It’s also possible the road trip itself had nothing to do with the streak ending; funny thing about hockey is you never really know how a game is going to go.
Coach Dave Pszenyczny has added several new players to the line up recently in part due to injuries. Jake Schultz and Vincent Caligiuri were added to the IR list on November 12, for 21 and 30 days respectively. Adding four players in three days, plus a fifth the week before, certainly seems to have helped the team as well. Fresh bodies to take the place of injuries definitely helps a team, and when the factors were right on Saturday the team showed how well they had gelled.
“I just felt like every line was missing a little something here or there,” said Pszenyczny in a video interview posted by the Storm following Saturday’s contest. “Obviously mixing it up makes me look like a genius, but I think the boys in that room, they just stuck together and just possessed tonight and they were going to win this game.”
Pszenyczny seems to have done well picking new bodies to mix into the line-up, as it was Cody Walsh who scored the lone goal for the Storm on Friday. On Thursday, freshly signed from waivers Sean Kacerosky scored the first goal of the game less than three minutes into the match on the power play.
The Storm’s first long road trip wasn’t without issues, however. The bus which was supposed to take the Storm from the Quad Cities to Birmingham broke down Wednesday night on the way to pick up the team. That meant they had to use a coach bus rather than a sleeper to drive almost 11 hours overnight. It was only a four hour trip to the next destination, but even though they arrived safely the first game in Pensacola itself had hiccups. The second period was interrupted by a power outage that lasted over an hour, as the arena and parts of the surrounding city lost power. There were no glow-in-the-dark pucks to be found, so the teams had to wait over an hour for power to return to finish the game.
The Storm special teams looked better than in past games this weekend. Saturday’s contest saw two power-play goals scored and only one goal allowed while the Storm were on the penalty kill. The Storm, being on the penalty kill six times in the contest, weren’t able to start too much offensive play, but made their shots count. Pensacola goalie Andrew D’Agostini allowed three goals on twelve shots, the third one coming just under a minute into the middle frame.
I’ve said before that the Storm aren’t a bad team, they just have problems staying out of the penalty box. Though on Saturday they did take several penalties, they pulled off the win because they did what they were supposed to.
In the aforementioned video, Pszenyczny said, “[I’m] just very proud of them; they stuck to the systems. I know I sound like a broken record at times in there, but they actually went through with it.”
The Storm and Pensacola Ice Flyers will see each other again on Black Friday at the TaxSlayer Center. Puck drop is set for 7:10 as the Storm will see if they can win again in front of the home crowd.
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