PEORIA, IL — The Quad City Storm entered Peoria on Friday in hopes of sweeping the semifinals and advancing to the President’s Cup Finals. Those hopes were quickly dashed by the Peoria Rivermen, who began their domination of the visitors from the opening face-off. The Rivermen would go on to defeat the Storm 5-1 on Friday, forcing the do-or-die Game Three on Saturday in Peoria.
Friday’s game was a reversal of Wednesday’s game, as the Rivermen dominated from the opening face-off to the final horn. The Storm were held in their own zone for several minutes, not able to even clear the zone due to the heavy pressure from the Rivermen. The Storm did not even get their first shot on goal of the game until over five minutes into the opening period, after Storm defenseman Matt Stoia took a seat in the penalty box for hooking.
The Storm took many penalties on Friday, as did the Rivermen. The Storm have now gone 0-for-10 on the powerplay in this series, having previously been 2 for 11 in the series against the Fayetteville Marksmen. Peoria, in contrast, are 2 for 11 after two games against the Storm – 2 of 6 in Friday’s game two match-up. The Storm will need to find a solution to their special teams before Saturday’s contest if they wish to continue to the next round.
Peoria began the scoring late in the first period with a goal by Marcel Godbout, just 17 seconds after he left the penalty box for slashing. The Storm had come off the penalty kill about a minute before Godbout’s penalty, so there was a quick turnaround between the two special teams units. The Storm had no quality chances on their first powerplay of the night, which would be a recurring theme for the rest of the night.
The Storm need to stay out of the penalty box on Saturday if they hope to win. The Storm took several penalties on Friday that were caused by being goaded by the Rivermen or letting the rivalry get in the way of playing hockey to win a championship. Coincidental minors also proved dangerous for the Storm, as the Rivermen’s second goal of the night came just 28 seconds into 4-on-4 action that started the second period. Following the horn to end the first period, there was a slight kerfuffle in the Peoria zone, leading to Taylor Pryce and Lordanthony Grissom being handed roughing minors. Peoria’s next two goals would be while on the man advantage, the latter of which was Godbout’s second of the night, which came just a few seconds before the powerplay was slated to end.
Connor Fries scored the lone goal for the Storm late in period two, a little less than a minute after the Rivermen had finished killing their third penalty of the night. His goal was bookended by the powerplay goals for the Rivermen. Marcus Ortiz and Cody Walsh picked up the assists on Fries’ first goal of the play-offs.
“Wasn’t much good of anything tonight,” Storm head coach Dave Pszenyczny following the game. “[Bailey] Brkin did a great job by keeping us in there when they burnt us. It is very disappointing when we didn’t match intensity or exceed it at all. We wait that long and unfortunately bad things are gonna happen.”
The crowd at Carver Arena was bolstered by a large contingent of Storm fans who had made the drive down from the Quad Cities, numbering over 150 at best estimation. Those fans did not receive a good show. “It was evident that we did not want it tonight. [Peoria] wanted it more and that’s who won,” said Pszenyczny. “It’s one of those ones that you’ve got to put behind you, pretty quickly. Both teams are facing elimination tomorrow. We just got to want it more than them. We came down here to take one. Unfortunately, we didn’t tonight, so tomorrow we have to.”
Be sure to follow @FPHStorm on Twitter for the latest news and updates about the Storm through the playoffs and beyond.
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