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SPHL Game Recap/Analysis

Storm Sign Off on Season with Non-Goal

#SPHL | The @QuadCityStorm season came to an end Saturday night in a 3-1 loss to the @HuntsvilleHavoc with the Storm’s head coach being ejected and fans talking about a goal that ended up not being one. @FPHStorm was there for FPH and wraps up what transpired

Storm Sign Off on Season with Non-Goal

MOLINE, Ill — The Quad City Storm closed out the 2022-23 season against the Huntsville Havoc on Saturday, dropping the contest 3-1 after an empty net goal. The game had no effect on the standings at all, as it was the last game of the season for both teams and one of the last games to be played in the SPHL regular season. The game ended with a coach being ejected, and the ever-present possibility of players entering retirement after the game.

The first period was uneventful, the teams being unable to find the back of the net. Neither team could send pucks to the net and get a stoppage in play, as over four minutes elapsed without a single whistle in the early minutes of the game. The Storm had two chances on the man advantage in the opening period but couldn’t do anything with those opportunities. That changed in the second period, however.

The Storm opened the scoring just 14 seconds into the second period, Leif Mattson picking up an assist from Cole Golka. Seven minutes later, the Storm went on their first penalty kill of the night, and the Havoc’s eighth-place powerplay unit was able to convert. Huntsville’s power play efficiency ranks under that of the Macon Mayhem by only 0.1%, the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs being in ninth place in power play conversion success.

Roughly two and a half minutes into the final Storm frame of the 2022-23 season, the Havoc seemed to score to take the lead. The goal was immediately waved off due to a high-stick nullifying the goal and play continued.

Recent Storm signee Nicola Levesque, who had signed with the Storm for the inaugural season but suffered an injury in the preseason game against Peoria, attempted to rally the Storm by fighting Sam Hunter. Hunter didn’t want to dance, but Chris Jones gladly dropped the gloves with Levesque. Levesque was the clear winner of the fisticuffs, but it was the Havoc who seemed to gain momentum from the fight. Before the fighting majors could even be announced, Huntsville took the lead for real in the form of a goal by Robbie Fisher.  

The Storm fought to tie the game back up, pulling Kevin Resop with just under two minutes remaining in the third period. As Resop sat on the bench, the goal light behind Sammy Bernard was lit up. The Storm believed they had tied the game, but it was waved off due to a head-butt. Storm head coach Dave Pszenyczny wasn’t happy about the call, standing on the half-boards to yell at the officials. Having heard enough insults and cursing, the on-ice officials ejected Pszenyczny from the game. As he stepped onto the ice, he began applauding the officials, finally removing his tie and waving it around as he stepped off the ice. 

Pszenyczny spoke offered comments on the late-game exchange following the game. 

“First, it was a high stick, next it was goalie interference. And goalie interference is if the player goes in by himself; I didn’t really see much contact. The goalie was already in the net, didn’t know where the puck was, and it hits off our helmet and goes in; no headbutt motion to knock it in. It should be a legal goal,” he said. “I feel for the team in there. I mean, we battled (Saturday). It’s not easy, you know, Huntsville’s a good team, they’re up there in the standings for a reason. They’ve been around for a long time, a lot of chemistry. So yeah, it’s just kind of disappointing for our fans, I would like to say.”

The Storm took their timeout after Pszenyczny was ejected with a game misconduct for throwing stick/equipment/object, drawing up another game plan for the final 1:48 of the season. It proved ineffective, however, as Jacob Barber scored on the empty net with 14 seconds remaining in the game.

Before the goal, there had been a faceoff to Resop’s left, requiring the goaltender to go back in the game for a moment until the puck could be cleared. The Storm cleared the zone quickly, but play returned to the Storm’s defensive end just as quickly. Resop was already on the bench, however. 

“It looked like two teams, you know, last game, meaningless for each. [The Havoc] already have a solidified spot, they wouldn’t be moving up or down in the standings regardless of the outcome. It just seemed like a Sunday afternoon game in our league,” Pszenyczny said. “There’s a few [players]  that were in the lineup that we want to keep around. The numerous guys that we have on the IR season ending, we’d like back too. But you know, you never know what the players have going on in their lives as far as if they’re looking to settle down, buy a house,  move on away from hockey.”

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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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