The Quad-City Storm feel like they're starting to come into form.
Following a seven-game losing streak, the Storm have won four of their last five games and have moved up to seventh place in the Southern Professional Hockey League standings, two points behind the Huntsville Havoc, whom the Storm welcome to the TaxSlayer Center Saturday at 7:10 p.m.
Even a 5-1 loss to Evansville last Saturday isn't much to faze the Storm, who only had 14 skaters in that game.
"When I go back and watch video ... there were little factors that could have changed that game," head coach Dave Pszenyczny said. "Even though we didn't play the greatest, we're still getting chances."
While many things are improving, the Storm have continued to make their mark with a special teams unit that is one of the top groups in the league.
Their power play leads the league with a 25.9 percent success rate while their penalty kill is second, killing off 85.5 percent of its opportunities.
"Power plays, penalty kills, they're momentum-shifters in the game," forward Dalton Mills said. "Even on a penalty kill, if you have an awesome penalty kill, guys are blocking shots, it's going to pick the whole team up and guys are going to be rolling, get a little momentum built up for when it's 5-on-5 again."
Recently the power play has been surging with a 40 percent success rate in their last five games, including last Friday when the team was 4-of-6 in a win over Evansville. Thanks in part to that, the Storm boast the league's best road power play at 36 percent.
"It all stems on guys moving their feet. I think before, we were a little more stationary when we were trying to move the puck," said Mills, who has two power play goals on the year. "Now we're really trying to focus on having our feet moving and supporting each other. As long as you're keeping your feet moving the whole time, you're going to be able to make the puck do the work."
Another notable reason for the increased success has been the addition of defenseman Cody Walsh, who came out of retirement to join the Storm. Since joining the team on Nov. 6, the Storm's special teams have hit a new level. The penalty kill is killing off 88.1 percent of its chances and the power play is scoring at a 30.6 percent rate with Walsh at the point.
"I think we're all buying into the system right now," Walsh said. "I don't think it's just me up top, it's the guys around me."
Shifting roster: The Storm traded goaltender Keegan Asmundson and defenseman Don Olivieri to the Pensacola Ice Flyers Wednesday in exchange for future considerations. Both have spent time in the ECHL this season.
"At the end of the day, when guys are going to take call-ups and you don't know a timeline, you might not get that guy back," Pszenyczny said. "It was something I needed to do to clear some space up over here."
Asmundson has not played with the Storm, up with the Kalamazoo Wings. He was released by the Wings Tuesday and would have been eligible to join the Storm after clearing waivers, but with Peter Di Salvo and Eric Levine already on the team, Asmundson would have been the odd man out.
Olivieri, who was selected to be the Storm's captain before the season, has been up with the Atlanta Gladiators since Nov. 19. In eight games with the Storm, Olivieri scored two goals and added two assists, 34 penalty minutes and a minus-9 rating.
Since Olivieri's call-up, the Storm have gone 4-1-0 and are averaging nearly nine minutes fewer in penalties.
"At the end of the day, it is what it is," Pszenyczny said. "I love Don, he's a great guy, it's just we're taking less penalties, stuff like that, and we're not giving up as much."
Pszenyczny said Phil Bronner and Austin Hervey — who were both injured in Friday's game and did not play Saturday — were still day-to-day with lower body injuries. Pszenyczny said he also expected defenseman Jake Schultz — who had signed a professional tryout agreement with the ECHL's Rapid City Rush — to return to the team before the weekend.
Goaltending strength: A big reason Pszenyczny could afford to trade Asmundson is the play of Levine and Di Salvo in net. Di Salvo has been consistent, posting a 3.04 goals against average and a .912 save percentage in eight games, going 3-4-0 in that stretch.
Levine started off slowly but has played some of the best hockey in the league over the last week. He posted consecutive shutouts and his scoreless streak of 183 minutes, 55 seconds is the third longest in league history, just 20 seconds behind Di Salvo's mark set in the 2014-15 season.
Before his last three appearances, Levine was 0-3-1 with a 4.05 goals against average and a .889 save percentage. He's now 2-3-1 with a 2.67 goals against average and a .924 save percentage.
No other team in the league has two goaltenders that can boast those numbers.
"It helps," Walsh said. "We've still got to do our job but having those key saves, big saves out of nowhere really turns the game around and helps our back end, our D-corps, our whole team."