MOLINE, Ill. – The Quad City Storm were defeated by the Peoria Rivermen 3-2 Saturday night during the Storm’s Holiday Sock Toss. It was also Dollar Beer Night, which led to tempers boiling over in the stands. However, on the ice, the teams stayed relatively level-headed. That was partly due to the Storm not having enough players to afford to have any thrown in the penalty box, as they had only 11 skaters by the end of the night due to injuries during the game.
The game started with some feistiness after Friday’s 3-0 shutout loss for the Storm, with Mitchell McPherson and Tommy Tsicos each whistled for roughing less than a minute into the contest. Quad City started strong, not allowing Peoria to get a shot on goal until over five and a half minutes into the game. A minute later, the Storm went on their first power play of the night thanks to a Jordan Ernst slashing call. The Storm then scored their first goal while on the man advantage, letting loose the avalanche of socks and underwear for the Sock Toss. Six minutes later, the Rivermen went back on the penalty kill, leading to both the Storm’s second goal and power-play goal in a row. Connor Fries finally scored his first goal of the season, thanks to assists from Kyle Thacker and Patrick Gazich.
However, the Rivermen couldn’t stand being down 2-0 and quickly answered back. Joseph Drapluk scored his first goal of the night with assists from Tyler Barrow and Nick Neville, his second goal being the game-winner midway through the third period. The second period was uneventful for the most part, with Alec Baer tying the game late in the period. While none of the roughing calls led to five-minute majors, they did showcase the animosity of the Cold War on 74 Rivalry.
As the night went on, the Storm bench became shorter and shorter, with more players becoming injured on top of the six that are on ECHL call-ups or are suspended.
“I’m very proud of our boys; we had 11 skaters [ by the end],” said Storm head coach Dave Pszenyczny. “That team had a hard enough time beating us with 11 skaters, so I’m very proud of them right now. So obviously, it stings to lose, but it’s a good character performance, I thought, especially killing off the five-on-three. And, like I said, we have too many guys injured, on suspensions, and whatnot. So yeah, it’s tough.”
The game-winning goal for Peoria came midway through the third period, Drapluk scoring with help from Cayden Cahill and Barrows. With the win, Peoria moved up to third place in the standings, while the Storm dropped from first place to fifth.
“Well obviously last time we were there wasn’t very good,” said Pszenyczny, “so we have to make sure that we’re healthy, first and foremost. And hopefully, we can get some more bodies back in the lineup with Virgili and Moran coming back off suspension, so that would be nice. We’re not gonna be able to run practices with the bodies that we have, unfortunately, so we’ve just got to get healthy and go out there and play our game. I mean when we play our game, look what 11 guys still put forward the performance.”
The Storm will go on the road next weekend, taking on the Evansville Thunderbolts before returning home on December 9 against the Knoxville Ice Bears.
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