PEORIA - Something about the Toledo Storm has brought out the worst in the Peoria Rivermen all season.
But the Rivermen established a new low last night with their worst period of the season in the opening session, then nearly climbed out of a four-goal hole before losing 6-5 in front of 6,003 at Carver Arena.
Toledo scored four power play goals, including three in just 81 seconds of time on the advantage in the first period, twice walking in two-on-one.
Peoria had a chance to take a quick lead against Storm goalie Aren Miller, who was shaky throughout the game. But left wing J.F. Boutin missed the net on a two-on-one break in the second minute, and center Joe Rybar put a backhander into the goalie's chest from pointblank range.
The latter was a pattern the Rivermen couldn't break, as they piled up 35 shots in the first 40 minutes, most of which they put right in the goaltender's gut.
Toledo took 1-0 lead at 9:22 of the first period when Peoria veteran right wing Blaine Fitzpatrick lost the puck in the mid-slot, and then veteran player-assistant coach Bret Meyers inadvertently passed it right to Toledo's Shawn Maltby in the high slot.
Maltby set up sniper Andrew Williamson for a goal from the right circle over Kenric Exner.
Three power play goals in a span of 3:06 at the end of the period blew open the game.
Defenseman Derek Booth's blast from the right point beat Exner cleanly through a screen for 2-0 at 15:08.
Toledo goalscoring leader James Patterson made it 3-0 at 16:50 when he caught the Rivermen in a bad line change, beating Exner from the left circle on the fly.
Booth scored again off a two-on-one power play rush to the net, drawing down Exner and finishing with a flip over his pads at 18:14.