EVANSVILLE, Indiana – History came to a screeching halt on Saturday night, as the Evansville Thunderbolts put an end to the Quad City Storm’s win streak. While it was the longest streak in Storm history – yet – it only lasted four games. Eric Levine was also attempting history, as he sought the longest scoreless sequence in the SPHL. The result? A split weekend between the weather teams at the Ford Center.
There was quite a difference between Friday and Saturday’s performances for the Storm. Special teams shined for the Storm, as all four goals that made their way past Edwin Minney came while Evansville was down a man. The Thunderbolts went on a penalty kill just over 30 seconds into the game, giving the Storm a quick goal via Tommy Tsicos.
The Storm’s power play unit has been a bit of a roller coaster in previous games, either doing very well or struggling. Going against the bottom team in the league, it’s a bit harder to make a fair assessment of the unit’s ability. The penalty kill unit for the northern Illinois-based team is ranked second-worst in the league, just 4 percentage points behind the Knoxville Ice Bears. The Storm have allowed only 10 goals in 69 times short-handed.
“I know the way [Levine] can play, and he’s been showing time and time again. We relied on him way too much, but hey, a win’s a win, and we’ll just get back to the basics [Saturday],” Coach Dave Pszenyczny said following Friday’s 4-0 win.
Levine notched his second shut-out of the season in back to back games, but the decision was made to give him Saturday night off in favor of Peter Di Salvo. Di Salvo had last played on Black Friday, which only amounted to eight days – not unusual in a league where most games are weekend only. Evansville took the momentum early in the game, scoring under two minutes into the game. The teams traded power-play goals in the middle frame, but after letting in the fourth goal on 19 shots, Di Salvo was pulled in favor of Levine.
Levine’s attempt at setting a new SPHL scoreless sequence record fell seven minutes and seven seconds short of Andrew Loewen’s record of 191:07. Scott Donahue tallied the goal to put an end to the attempt, though Levine now sits at third in the record books, not allowing a goal for 183:55.
Evansville, even though it the league’s cellar dweller, isn’t to be underestimated. Desperation is a dangerous thing, which led to their 5-1 victory on Saturday.
The Storm next take the ice on December 8 against the defending President’s Cup winners the Huntsville Havoc. Puck drop for that game is set for 7:10 at the TaxSlayer Center. Be sure to follow @SinBinStorm on Twitter.