MOLINE, Ill. – The Quad City Storm are set to take on the Fayetteville Marksmen in the first playoff appearance for the young franchise. The teams didn’t see much of each other this season, only having three games between them just a couple of months ago in February. A lot can change in a couple of months, however.
There are some familiar faces for Storm fans on the Fayetteville roster, such as recent addition Nick Mangone who was suspended from the Storm on March 17. Taylor McCloy, who scored the first hattrick for the Storm in their inaugural season, will also be taking the ice against the Illinois-based team.
Final Regular Season Records:
Fayetteville Marksmen: 40-14-1-1, 82 points (4th in League)
Quad City Storm: 32-14-5-4, 73 points (5th in League)
Series Schedule (Home team in CAPS and all times local):
Game 1 – Wednesday, April 13 – Fayetteville at QUAD CITY – 7:10 pm CT
Game 2 – Friday, April 15 – Quad City at FAYETTEVILLE – 7:00 pm ET
*Game 3 – Saturday, April 16 – Quad City at FAYETTEVILLE – 6:00 pm ET
* => If Necessary
Season Series Recap:
The two teams only saw each other three times this season, in a weekend triple-header on February 25-27 in North Carolina. The Marksmen won the season series 2-1, all three games finishing in regulation.
Shane Bennett was the top scorer for the Storm that weekend, scoring three goals and adding as many assists as well. Zach Remers and Tanner Froese both scored twice in that series. Between the pipes, Brent Moran backstopped the Marksmen in all three games, making 96 saves on 104 shots against, good for a .923 save percentage.
How Fayetteville Wins:
Taylor Best, the top scorer for the Marksmen, will have an opportunity to shine for his team even more during the postseason, as he has 22G, 29A (51 pts) in 42 games. Defenseman Donald Olivieri is right behind him with 15G, 31A (46 pts).
The Marksmen are fifth in the league on the powerplay, converting 19.4% of the time. They were short-handed 187 times, far less than the Storm. While the Storm have the better penalty kill team at 82.8% versus Fayetteville’s 81.8%, the Storm were short-handed the most in the league at 238 times over 56 games. The Marksmen can take advantage of the Storm’s penchant for penalties, as the Storm have proven that enough penalties in a game can sink their ship and turn an almost-win into a sure loss.
How Quad City Wins:
The Storm needs to stay out of the penalty box, first and foremost. They have the better penalty kill percentage, but have allowed 41 goals while down a man, putting them at number four in that ranking. Bennett is the top scorer for the Storm, ranked 11th in the league in points. Connor Fries is a distant second, with 39 points over 55 games.
The Storm should start Bailey Brkin on Wednesday, and continue that trend into Friday’s contest, even though he didn’t face off against the Marksmen in February. While Kevin Resop allowed only four goals in his two games against Fayetteville in February, Brkin has the ECHL experience and the lower goals against average of 2.12 compared to Resop’s 2.60, even though Brkin faced more shots.
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