Happy birthday Ryan Mulder.
Your present? Your first win in a Quad-City Storm jersey.
Powered by Mulder’s 41 saves and two goals each from Michael Casale and Tommy Tsicos, the Storm won their first game at the TaxSlayer Center in over two weeks, defeating Roanoke 6-3 in front of 3,415 people Saturday night.
The six goals is the most Quad-City has scored in a game in its first season as a member of the Southern Professional Hockey League, snapping its two-game losing streak and winning at home for the first time since February 15.
Not a bad night.
“The boys played great,” Storm head coach Dave Pszenyczny said. “With the way we’re scoring, with who’s scoring, it’s nice. It was a great win.”
On a chilly start to the month of March, nothing could get in the way of the birthday boy.
The now 26-year old had lost his previous seven starts in now his second stint with the Storm. He was shipped to Peoria before signing back on to the newly added SPHL team.
Mulder played like goalie he was briefly for the Rivermen.
He sprawled out for a couple of saves and stopped rebound chances from going in.
“Every time he’s in the net, I’m like ‘Is this the one, is this the one?’” Pszenyczny said. “We never played very well in front of him. Tonight, we executed.”
Q-C fed off that to get their offense going that scored three goals in the second period. Casale broke a 1-1 tie at the 6 minute, 37 mark off a rebound from a slapshot by Sean Kacerosky.
What followed was the Tommy Tsicos show.
The 6-foot-1 left winger skated into the middle of the ice and shot a wrister past Rail Yard Dawgs goalie Jacob Caffrey to make it 3-1 Storm.
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Tsicos converted a rebound for his second goal on the power play at 15:27.
It’s the first time this season Quad-City had a pair of skaters score two goals in the same game and now four active players to accomplish that, joining John Scully — who did it twice — and Shane Bennett.
“It’s nice that they see it,” Pszenyczny said. “If they see it, they should be able to continue doing it.”
As Roanoke cut the lead down to two goals on two different occasions in the third period, John Scully and the defense put the worries to bed.
Scully scored his team-leading 12th goal of the season at the 6:01 mark to make it 5-2 Storm and the defense didn’t allow much action in the final six minutes. Shane Bennett added an empty netter in with under three minutes left.
After an opening nine minutes of little offensive flow and a total of six shots on goal, the Storm grabbed the lead.
Vincent Beaudry, who finished with four points, found Michael Casale at the side of the net for a wide open goal at the 9:17 mark of the first period.
“Almost gave me a couple heart attacks,” Pszenyczny said. “We’re not a flashy team, we show some signs of it.”
Thirty-seven seconds later, the lead was gone.
Steve Mele drove down the middle of the ice and buried a wrister past Ryan Mulder to tie the game at one at 9:54.
It’s the first time Quad-City didn’t trail in the first period since Feb. 23 against Evansville and the first occurrence at home since the Feb. 9 contest against Peoria.
The win pushes the Storm up to 32 points in the standings, but the mountain to climb into the playoffs gets tougher as seven of their final 12 games are on the road, where Quad-City only has five wins.
“We can only take it one game at a time,” Pszenyczny said. “At the end of the day, things might pan out for us.”