MOLINE, IL – The Quad City Storm played the first playoff game in franchise history on Wednesday night, facing off against the Fayetteville Marksmen. Though it was a close game, the Storm fell 3-2 in regulation in the first of a best of three series.
The Storm looked dominant for much of the game, possessing play after Fayetteville’s goal just under midway through the first period. However, the Illinois-based team scored a few minutes later on the powerplay, their only conversion while on the man advantage Wednesday night. During the second period, the Storm appeared to lose energy, as the teams were locked in a 1-1 tie for 20 nearly 30 minutes. The Storm then began to play slightly better in the third period, but the bounce at the beginning of the final frame was the deciding factor in the outcome.
“I thought we shot ourselves in the foot; I thought we dominated for the most part. Sometimes in the game of hockey, you don’t get the bounces, but also you help create those bounces for the other team as well,” said Quad City head coach Dave Pszenyczny after the game.
Taylor Best’s goal 30 seconds into the final frame shifted the momentum from the Storm to the Marksmen’s favor, the goal coming just as time expired on a Cody Walsh penalty. The Storm continued to pepper Brent Moran with shots and had several chances throughout the period. Though, they could not find the back of the net until there were just less than five minutes remaining in the game. Logan Nelson scored with help from Connor Fries, but less than a minute later, Drake Glover took back the lead for Fayetteville.
The Storm took several penalties in the waning minutes of the third period, leading to at one point 14 seconds of 5-on-3 hockey in favor of Fayetteville. Coach Pszenyczny pulled Bailey Brkin with one minute left in the game to give the Storm five players on the ice, as Cole Golka was guilty of tripping with just under two minutes remaining in the game. However, this move would prove ineffectual, as an offsides call with just eight seconds left on the clock broke up the Storm’s play and ended their chance of a comeback.
The Storm’s penalty kill was perfect, killing all five of the Marksmen’s power plays throughout the night. As I said in my playoff preview, the Storm needs to stay out of the penalty box to get wins. Taking penalties late in the game when down a goal doesn’t lead to wins.
“I think we’ve just got to simplify [on Friday]. I thought we worried too much about putting on a show tonight as opposed to sticking with the game plan. We got away from it for a little bit there. Sometimes just throwing the puck, bounces, and go in.” – Pszenyczny
The Storm will face the Marksmen in game two of the series Friday at 7 PM ET at the Crown Complex in Fayetteville, NC. If the Storm win on Friday, the two will face off again on Saturday night at 6 ET at the Crown Complex.
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