Dave Pszenyczny didn’t mince any words after Sunday’s 9-2 drubbing at the hands of the Knoxville Ice Bears.
“It’s beyond embarrassing,” the Quad-City Storm head coach said. “It looked like we didn’t care after the first period.”
The Storm suffered their worst loss as a franchise, giving up five goals in the second period and four goals in the third to allow a franchise-high nine goals. The seven-goal margin of defeat is also the largest in the Storm’s first year as an expansion Southern Professional Hockey League franchise.
“We give up five goals (in one period), our power play goes 0-for-7, give up a shorthander, our PK was atrocious,” Pszenyczny said. “There’s only one word and that’s embarrassing.”
Cory Simons was making the first SPHL start of his career, second overall appearance and had a strong first period. Thanks to a defense that limited shots to the outside, Simons helped the Storm enter the first intermission up 1-0, the goal coming from Sean Kacerosky at 11:06 in the period.
However, the Storm’s defensive zone fell apart in the second period, allowing the Ice Bears to attack the middle of the ice.
"I thought the guys were hungry tonight in the first, we came out all over them," Kacerosky said. "Hockey is a game of mistakes and we have to respond better sometimes when we face adversity. Most of the time I think we do a very good job of doing that but tonight it got away from us."
Lucas Bombardier tied the game with a 4-on-4 goal at 6:21, then Anthony McVeigh put the Ice Bears up 2-1 at 9:30.
"I think we got too mixed up in our game and not playing the system we know we can play," defenseman Cody Walsh said. "When times like that come, one goal after another, we really need to simplify everything."
Gehrett Sargis and Marcus Ortiz added goals to chase Simons, who made 22 saves on 26 shots, at 15:33 in the period. Peter Di Salvo, who made 42 saves in Saturday night’s game, entered in relief.
“I can’t even blame my goaltending,” Pszenyczny said. “I thought Simons played well. Me pulling him wasn’t his performance, it was strictly because of the team that was playing in front of him.”
Di Salvo’s appearance looked like it may spark the Storm as Mitch Mueller scored his 10th goal of the season less than two minutes after the goalie change to cut the lead to 4-2 at 16:14 in the second period.
Knoxville quickly countered with a goal from Bryce Nielsen at 16:40 to regain a three-goal lead.
The Ice Bears added four goals in the third period to turn the game into a laugher. The Storm have now allowed 23 goals over their last four games.
"We're not going to win games 1-0, especially against a high-offense team like that," Pszenyczny said. "To me, it's a pride thing. Giving up five goals in any period is awful but at the same time, I still had faith in my offense that we could have gotten the job done, or at least made a game of it but we just decided we didn't want to."
The goal now will be for the Storm to not allow this loss to snowball into next week's games against Peoria.
"Just stick together as a team and work together no matter what," Walsh said. "Within the season, you're going to have your ups and downs but the main thing is sticking together as a team, as a unit and as a family."