MOLINE, IL — The Quad City Storm continue to make history this season, advancing to the President’s Cup Semifinals in their first postseason appearance.
They defeated the Fayetteville Marksmen in back-to-back games on the road to become the first team to secure a spot in the second round. The fifth-seed Storm knocked out the fourth-seed Marksmen in regulation on both nights, having a goal differential of two goals each night: 3-1 Game 2 on Friday and 4-2 Game 3 on Saturday.
The Storm started off the scoring at just under the nine-minute mark of period one on Saturday. Taylor Pryce netted the goal with assistance from David Brancik. Triston Theriot then scored his first professional goal seven minutes later to give the Storm a 2-0 lead, but 61 seconds later Fayetteville answered back to end Bailey Brkin’s shut-out in the form of a goal from Bryan Moore.
The only goal to be scored in the second period was the tying goal by former Storm player Nick Mangone midway through the period. Prior to the goal being scored, it appeared that Brkin was injured on the play. No whistle ensued, however, play continued before culminating in a goal being scored. Ben Duperreault scored two unassisted goals in the final frame to catapult the Storm into the second round. Duperreault had several other goal-scoring opportunities throughout the third period but was unsuccessful in finding the back of the net for a hat trick.
The Storm dominated the first and third periods on Saturday night, play being more equally spread during the second period. Neither team was successful on the power play, Quad City going 0-3 while Fayetteville was 0-4.
As suggested in our playoff preview, the Marksmen needed to draw penalties by the Storm to secure their own spot in the second round. This did not occur, as the Marksmen scored only once out of 14 man advantages. In that same preview, it was also noted that the Storm needed to stay out of the penalty box to win the series. They were successful in reducing their penalty minutes.
Both teams stuck with a single goalie throughout the series. Brkin was an untested goalie against Fayetteville, as he had not faced them during the regular season. However, his successful series against the Marksmen, in which he finished with a 2.01 GAA, is proof that he is a high-caliber goaltender worthy of his prior ECHL call-ups.
Shane Bennett, despite being the Storm’s leading goal scorer in the regular season, was surpassed by both Duperreault and Logan Nelson in goals scored this series. Duperreault had four points (3G 1A), while Nelson had three points (2G 1A); Bennett made his mark on the scoresheet only twice, with one goal and one assist in three games.
The Storm’s semifinal opponent is yet to be determined.
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