A balanced attack was more than enough for the Quad-City Storm.
Five different players scored and 11 finished with at least a point as the Storm cruised to a 5-1 win over the Evansville Thunderbolts Saturday at the TaxSlayer Center. The Storm end the weekend with three points and rebounded from Friday night's overtime loss to the Thunderbolts.
"I told them I was really upset with last night's loss," head coach Dave Pszenyczny said. "Last night's effort compared to tonight's was night and day."
The win keeps the Storm 12 points back of the Pensacola Ice Flyers for the eighth and final Southern Professional Hockey League playoff spot with nine games remaining.
"We've just got to worry about ourselves and take it one game at a time," Pszenyczny said. "We're in the spot that we're in that we dug ourselves and we've got to do our job and we've got to win out."
Friday night, the Storm had equal balance, with 11 players grabbing points but were undone by Evansville’s top line. Saturday the Storm's balance won out as they held Evansville in check.
Al Graves put the Storm on the board at 7:06 in the first period, tapping a feed from Ben Boukal past Thunderbolts goaltender Braeden Ostepchuk for his sixth goal and 10th point of the season, both career highs.
Stephen Gaul gave the Storm a 2-0 lead, burying a one-timer past Ostepchuk off a feed from Dalton Mills at 15:40 to send the Storm into the first intermission up by two goals.
Vincent Beaudry added to the lead with a breakaway goal that rolled off the back of Ostepchuk and into the net at 6:24 in the second period.
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Phil Bronner upped the lead to 4-0, burying a rebound from Tyler Minx past Ostepchuk at 14:47 in the period.
Bronner finished with a goal and an assist while Shane Bennett added two assists to lead the Storm in points.
"Last night (Friday) was upsetting because we came out and played such a good first period and I think we just thought they were going to roll over and they didn't," Bronner said. "We wanted to come in and make sure we didn't get outworked and we did a good job."
Peter Di Salvo made 30 saves for the Storm but saw another shutout bid end in the final 10 minutes when Morrissey scored at 11:13 in the third period. Di Salvo has had four shutout bids end in the final 10 minutes of the third period this season as he still looks for his first shutout of the season.
"I heard someone jinxed him before the third period today," Bronner said. "He's outstanding night in and night out ... he's an easy guy to block shots for because he plays so hard every night."
The Storm led 3-1 before falling in Friday’s game but Dean Yakura denied any similar collapse with a goal at 14:56 in the third period, burying a blast from the left circle past Ostepchuk, who made 26 saves in the loss.
"We stuck with it, decided we were going to play simple," Pszenyczny said. "We stuck to the system for the most part."
The Storm hit the road for their first meeting of the season with the Fayetteville Marksmen next week.