JACKSON, Miss. - Mark Bernard probably wouldn't strike you as a tough, hard-nosed guy in street clothes.
But when he puts on a hockey mask with pads and a stick, Bernard is a bad man.
The Jackson Bandits found that out the hard way over the weekend as Bernard led the Toledo Storm to a 4-3 overtime victory yesterday before 4,658 at the Mississippi Coliseum.
The win wrapped up a 3-0-1 road trip through the South. Bernard had 95 saves in two games against the Bandits - including a 4-1 win on Saturday. He turned away a whopping 53 shots in yesterday's game.
“He's a warrior,” Toledo coach Dennis Holland said.
“He's our biggest competitor. He hates to lose and that showed Sunday.”
But the Bandits (20-18-4) didn't give in easily. They actually had Bernard on his heels late during regulation in yesterday's game.
Cory Larose and Steve Wilson scored two goals, respectively, in less than two minutes midway through the third period. Leading scorer Bobby Russell forced overtime with his 25th goal later in the period.
But Andrew Williamson, who netted 63 goals last year, killed all that momentum 3 minutes, 49 seconds into the overtime period. He scored his second goal of the game, and third of the series to clinch the win.
“I really can't be upset with the way we played,” Bandits coach Derek Clancey said. “I guess we have to just keep going. The way our luck has been, we'll take our point and be glad we got it.”
The Bandits unleashed 38 shots on goal in the first two periods without a score, and still the Storm (22-15-2) got the first goal in the third, taking a 2-0 lead near the five-minute mark. Shawn Maltby left a nice, no-look wrap-around pass for Tim Verbeek, who sent the puck over the left shoulder of Bandits goalie David Brumby.
The first period was like deja vu for the Bandits.
Like Saturday, they played well enough to win, but the Storm went into the first intermission with a 1-0 lead instead.
That was thanks to Williamson, who walked in from the right side and slammed home a backdoor pass from James Patterson 7 minutes, 5 seconds into the game.
Defensively, Bernard picked up where he left off in Saturday's victory. He stopped at least seven big shots in the first - three of which came during a 5-on-3 Bandits power play.
The Bandits held a 17-8 advantage in shots on goal in the opening period, 21-5 in the second and 18-6 in the third.
“We probably had 95 or 100 attempts,” Clancey said. “I just hope this is a step in the right direction.”
The Storm will host Wheeling in a doubleheader Friday and Saturday.