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Storm Fail to Win in Education Day Game

#SPHL | The @QuadCityStorm hosted the @Peoria_Rivermen for a morning matchup on Thursday, but it was the Storm getting schooled in their first inaugural Education Day game. @FPHStorm recaps the day in her latest:

Storm Fail to Win in Education Day Game

MOLINE, Ill. — The Quad City Storm hosted the Peoria Rivermen for the first time since Black Friday, facing off for an early morning Education Day game on Thursday. The puck dropped at 10:30 AM in front of a packed house of elementary school kids from around the area, as over 3000 kids were bussed in to watch the inaugural Storm Education Day game. The energy and noise level was high in the arena, but on the ice it was a different story. The Storm lost 4-1 in the first of back-to-back games this weekend, scoring only once in the middle of the game.

“I thought [the energy from the kids] was great, I think you could use it to your advantage,” said Storm Head Coach Dave Pszenyczny. “I mean, you know the kids are gonna be loud. We played there in Peoria and, you know, one of the things I said when we were there is, just use that to our advantage, right? Because let’s be honest, they don’t know, they’re just cheering for the sake of cheering.” 

The game began fast paced, play quickly moving from one zone to the other, though few shots were fired at either Eric Levine or Kevin Resop to start, with only three shots on goal for both teams roughly four minutes in. After those first four minutes, the game went downhill for the Storm. 

“I mean, the first four minutes were great,” said Pszenyczny, “and then we, I don’t know, it’s a struggle in there for some reason, a lot of pretenders and a lot of guys who only think about themselves.”

Just over halfway through the first period the first goal of the morning was scored thanks to Peoria’s Joseph Drapluk. Drapluk deflected the puck in from the top of the crease, with Cayden Cahill and Alexandre Carrier picking up the assists. Seven minutes later, with just over one minute remaining in the period, Alec Hagaman added to the score to give Peoria the two-goal lead for the first time. 

When the horn sounded to end the first period, a small kerfuffle developed in front of Levine and his net. The jawing and shoving led to four-on-four hockey for the first two minutes of the second period. It was during this stretch that the Storm scored their only goal of the game. Logan Nelson scored unassisted from the slot, cutting Peoria’s lead to a single goal with just 21 seconds remaining in four-on-four hockey. 

Though the Storm were able to score while both teams were down a man, they couldn’t score on either of their two power plays. The Storm have now dropped to ninth in the league for power play conversion, with only an 18.5% success rate on the man advantage. They lead the league, however, in penalty kill success, killing off 81.1% of their penalties. The Storm don’t lead the league in times short-handed, however, as that distinction belongs to the Evansville Thunderbolts.

The Storm went on their first power play of the night just over three minutes after scoring their first goal, only registering one shot on goal during the man advantage. The Rivermen then took back the two-goal lead at 10:12 of the second period, as Dale Deon scored through the screen with help from Hagaman and Nigel Slade

The third period was a rough one for the Storm, as they dominated puck possession but couldn’t get the puck into the net.

“It’s pretty disappointing,” said Pszenyczny, “I only played six forwards today because I had four guys that weren’t really going. So it’s difficult, right, but at the end of the day, I thought we did a good job in the third, you know. We took it to them, they were barely in our zone; the only time they were in our zone was during power plays.”

The Storm outshot the Rivermen 17-12 in the third period, having begun the frame with just under a minute and a half of penalty kill left. Though the Rivermen took a penalty of their own early in the frame to make it four-on-four action once again, the Storm couldn’t repeat the feat of scoring again. 

The Rivermen didn’t register a shot on goal for a stretch of roughly eight minutes during the first half of the third period, but it was the latter half that did the Storm in. Carter Shinkaruk was assessed a ten-minute unsportsmanlike conduct with six and a half minutes remaining in the game after being “bait[ed] into it by the referee by yelling and swearing at my player, you know. … It’s just disgusting that you know, the professionalism from our officials who are supposed to be there to help and protect the players isn’t there. I don’t understand why they get to yell and [expletive] my players, but somebody needs to be held accountable at this point,” Pszenyczny said.

Five minutes after Shinkaruk’s penalty Mathias Ahman was called for roughing, followed by Jordan Ernst being called for interference roughly 30 seconds later. Just 14 seconds after Ernst took a seat, Ben Assad picked up his second point of the night with an empty-net goal after assisting Hagaman’s goal earlier. 

Pszenyczny: “Kind of getting sick of [the officiating], you know? I just think the onus needs to be put on the officiating. And especially when you understand that there’s a flow to the game and they’re dictating the flow. It shouldn’t happen; let the players dictate it, right? So, you know, that’s that. I’m not blaming the loss on that particularly, but it doesn’t help.”

The Storm host the Rivermen again on Friday before hitting the road for two weeks. Friday’s game will feature Baby Shark-themed jerseys, which will be auctioned online post-game.

Be sure to follow @FPHStorm for the latest news and game updates about the Storm.

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    Anna Headley covers the Quad City Storm for Field Pass Hockey. Follow and interact with her on Twitter @FPHStorm.

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