MOLINE, Ill. – The Quad City Storm picked up four points this weekend against their closest rival the Peoria Rivermen, though the central Illinois team also picked up two points via overtime hockey. Both games became tied after rallies by the visiting team in the third period, the play surprisingly even for teams that are separated by 14 points in the standings. The Storm have started a new winning streak, now with three straight wins between this weekend and last.
Friday’s contest was a physical bout, starting out with a fight within 90 seconds of the opening face off. That set the tone for the night, as the two teams battled hard and exchanged blows both with and without gloves. The teams exchanged power play goals in the first period, and at the end of the night five of the nine goals scored came with an extra attacker on the ice for that team. The special teams “were special alright,” as coach Dave Pszenyczny put it Friday night, with the Storm taking a total of 11 penalties for 28 minutes while the Rivermen had seven infractions for 20 minutes.
The Storm were able to be dominant early in the second period, but with the two penalties in the first four minutes of the sandwich stanza it was hard for the Storm to gain momentum enough to dominate. They would control possession of the puck, only to lose it after the whistle blew for a penalty or offsides. A two-man Storm trip to the penalty box in the waning minutes of the second period led to another power play goal for the Rivermen, which put Peoria within one goal of the Storm at 3-2. The Rivermen rallied to tie the game at four apiece midway through the third period, but it didn’t take long for Joe Sova to win the game for the Storm in overtime.
“[Tonight had] a lot of ups and downs, the boys battled a lot of adversity in the penalties, and we overcame that and won it in overtime,” said Pszenyczny. “The way I see it, a win’s a win, we regroup, we clean up what we need to clean up tomorrow, and go right back at them.”
Saturday’s game was slightly less physical, as no gloves were dropped throughout the night, but the physicality was still in high gear. For the most part, however, the teams managed to stay out of the penalty boxes, which was a good thing for the Storm after giving up three powerplay goals the night before. While the Storm had outshot the Rivermen 45-30 on Friday on their way to an overtime win, the Rivermen outshot the Storm 45-34 on Saturday. Quad City was able to be the more efficient team in shots on goal versus goals for, though the third period nearly cost them the win.
“Obviously we needed to work on a few things [in the third period],” Pszenyczny said. “I think we could’ve made more plays instead of panicking with the puck, but at the end of the day a win’s a win, right? It’s regular season right now, so a lot of things to work on, it’s still early. But I’m very impressed with [Peter] Di Salvo’s performance tonight, I thought he did a phenomenal job.”
Saturday’s contest ended with a final score of 4-3 in the shootout, while Friday’s was 5-4 in overtime.
The Storm will return to action on Friday at the TaxSlayer Center against the Pensacola Ice Flyers. The defending SPHL champions will be in town for three days, facing off against the Storm in what will be another test for this hockey team.
“We’ve got a lot of maintenance this week, right? We’ve got to work with the schedule. I’m sure there’s guys getting called up, we got some injuries, right? We just got to go and get through Friday. And then we’ll take it one game at a time,” Pszenyczny said.
The weekend will be capped off by another Pucks n’ Paws Night, where fans can bring their canine companion to the game. A special treat will be available, able to take pictures with Jolly old Saint Nick for the whole family.
Be sure to follow @FPHStorm for the latest news and updates about the Storm.
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