MOLINE, Ill. – For the first time in 2023, the Quad City Storm handed the Peoria Rivermen their first loss of the I-74 rivalry in the shootout. The 4-3 win was the Storm’s second victory in ten games, aside from the forfeit by the now-defunct Vermilion County Bobcats on February 5. It was also the first time the Storm defeated the Rivermen since December 15, 2022, in Carver Arena. Storm captain Taylor Pryce returned from IR on Thursday, though he didn’t make his mark on the scoresheet.
“A disallowed goal and a penalty that they end up scoring on, a botched face-off that ends up in our zone, a botched goal for them,” said Storm Head Coach Dave Pszenyczny. “I’ve never seen a guy be able to score without a stick, you know, kind of with a kick. It’s frustrating at times, but I think the belief is in that room; you can tell on the bench that there was no quit, you know. That’s something that we’ve been missing for quite a long time, and I think the new guys are big believers, right? That adds to our enthusiasm with the core group that are still here, and that’s not to take away from the players that were here before but it’s just something that needed to change. And you know, kudos to Kevin [Resop] for backstopping us there and taking a shootout, then obviously the guys that scored the goals consistently.”
The Rivermen started the scoring off early in the first period, as Alexandre Carrier went bar down with help from captain Alec Hagaman and Nick Neville. The Storm tied the game up just over a minute later thanks to a bobble by Zach Wilkie. Michael Moran was credited with the goal, while Patrick Gazich and Mathias Ahman picked up the assists.
The Storm thought they had taken the lead four minutes later, shortly after Hagaman left the penalty box for a tripping call, but the goal was waved off. Instead of a goal awarded, Tommy Tsicos was given a goaltender interference penalty for being near Eric Levine and parked near the crease to screen. Just three seconds after Tsicos left the penalty box, the Rivermen scored to take the lead. Cayden Cahill was credited with the goal, while J.M. Piotrowski and Neville earned the assists.
The second period was uneventful until the middle of the frame, when the Storm appeared to have a fire lit under themselves spontaneously. The team played with more aggression than they had during the first period, and passes connected better as well. The Rivermen were the only team to score during the second period, however, as Mitchell McPherson managed to make the puck trickle in. Resop thought he had covered the puck and stopped play while on his knees, but the puck found its way to the back of the net.
The Storm went on the power play late in the second period, and 1:49 of the man advantage rolled into the final frame. Only 19 seconds were needed for the Storm to convert, however. Logan Nelson scored the lone power play goal of the night with help from Ahman and Cole Golka, who scored his own goal roughly 90 seconds later to tie the game. Alex Carlson and Nigel Slade assisted on the game-tying goal, Carlson taking the shot from the blue line that Golka tipped in.
The game stretched to overtime, the first time for the Storm since their shootout loss on the road against the Fayetteville Marksmen on December 31. Hagaman gave the Storm a man advantage during the bonus hockey, but the teams couldn’t settle the score in five minutes. Moran and Golka were the only two Storm players to score during the shootout, while Joseph Widmar was the only Peoria player to beat Resop.
The Storm will be in action on Friday and Saturday in Georgia, taking on the Macon Mayhem.
“We’re gonna be stepping off the plane [on Friday] with all the travel and basically putting on our equipment again and going right at it,” said Pszenyczny. “So hopefully we can ride the momentum into the first period, I know we’re going to have jet lag, but you know, at the end of the day we’re professionals so they have to be ready to come to get the two points.”
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