MOLINE, Ill. – The Quad City Storm and Knoxville Ice Bears saw quite a bit of each other this weekend, playing three games in as many days at the TaxSlayer Center. The Storm pulled success out of near failure on Saturday, while Sunday’s matinee was a game for the ages.
On Sunday, Joe Sova thought he had given the Storm a 2-1 lead early in the sandwich stanza. There was no stoppage in play to review it, and a few minutes later, the Ice Bears took the lead instead. But instead of letting it get to their heads and influence the game negatively, they began a surge that saw them score four goals in the second period.
The Storm’s penalty kill is league-worst, while Knoxville’s power play is fourth in the league. Aside from Friday’s low scoring affair that saw the game tied on two man advantages, the Storm handled themselves well while down a player. Over the course of the weekend, the Ice Bears were held to only a 25% conversion rate on the power play, with 16 chances in three games.
“We’re very consistent at being inconsistent,” said Coach Dave Pszenyczny after Saturday’s 5-4 victory. “We make it hard on ourselves for no reason. Stick to the game plan, and a couple brain farts and the game is tied up.”
While the Storm on Sunday scored four goals in the second period, the night before the Ice Bears had done the same thing to tie the game up. The Storm got lucky with their last-minute goal on Saturday that led to victory, but they took their foot off the gas in the second period and nearly lost the two points in the standings they desperately needed.
Quad City can’t expect to get blessed by the hockey gods with last-minute goals every game to make up for snoozing through periods (which often happens). Inconsistency was evident through the weekend, with both stupendous games like Sunday’s and terrible games like Saturday’s comeback.
Pszenyczny: “Both power plays [on Friday] we don’t get a clear, turns around and ends up in the back of our net. Guys just not competing…inconsistency. The game plan was pretty simple and we kind of veered away from that. Our team allowed them back in with the power plays. We had a lot of chances, we put up a lot of shots; I feel like our second efforts have to be better.
Both Saturday and Sunday showed improvement for the PK, as only one goal was allowed in each game while down a man. Taking fewer penalties would give opposing teams less opportunity to capitalize on the extra skater, but only so much can be done when tempers run high after three straight games.
The Storm will return to the ice on Friday, January 31 for 90s Night before Hockey Fights Cancer Night on Saturday. To make the games even more exciting, the Peoria Rivermen will be in town. On January 28, fans will be able to paint the names of loved ones who fought cancer on the TaxSlayer Center ice from 10 AM to 7 PM for free.
“We usually play pretty well on those big nights; it’s no secret, even last year we did,” said Pszenyczny Saturday. “We’ll have a good crowd, and the boys get pretty hyped from that.
“we’ve got (SEAN) Kacerosky who beat cancer, Sova who beat cancer…it’s something that’s affected everybody. I’m sure you’ve had relatives [affected], so it’s definitely something that the community takes pride in and any way that we can give back is awesome.”
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