JOHNSTOWN, Pa. - Toledo Storm coach Dennis Holland must love seeing black and gold.
At least when the Johnstown Chiefs are wearing those colors.
The Storm routed the Chiefs 7-2 last night at Cambria County War Memorial Arena. Toledo is a perfect 6-0-0 against Johnstown so far in this 10-game Northwest Division series.
The Storm has outscored Johnstown 28-8 entering tonight's rematch at the War Memorial.
“I'm not sure why we have success against Johnstown,” Holland said after his team won its fourth straight overall. “We match up very well against them. We got a lot of confidence early in the series and that helps.
“We've played our best hockey this season against Johnstown.”
In four of the six games, Toledo has scored five or more goals against the Chiefs.
Last night was the most dominating effort for the first-place Storm.
From a Chiefs' perspective, it was downright ugly.
“We can't let a team come into our rink and beat us 7-2,'' Chiefs forward John McNabb said. “It's pretty embarrassing, very embarrassing.”
From a Storm perspective, it was business as usual.
Goaltender Mark Bernard is 6-0-0 against the Chiefs. Left wing James Patterson scored his eighth and ninth goals of the series, which coincidentally is one more goal than the Chiefs entire team has in six tries against the Storm.
Right wing Andrew Williamson netted a third-period hat trick for his fifth, sixth and seventh goals of the series.
Adding insult to Johnstown's injury, nearly 70 Storm fans decked out in red and white made the Toledo players feel right at home.
Throughout the game, the Toledo fan club chanted their support. Their air horns blared throughout the night, and they “counted out” each of their team's goals.
“Our fans definitely helped,” Holland said. “We were sluggish in the morning skate. But when you look up in the stands on the road and you see white and red jerseys all over the place, you get that extra boost. They were the extra man for us. We're lucky we have such great fans.”
The Storm played its sixth game in eight nights, and did so with only 14 skaters because of call-ups and injuries.
“It didn't show,'' Holland said. “We were as fresh as Johnstown, and it was our sixth game in eight nights.”
Johnstown took a 1-0 lead 9:39 into the first period. The Chiefs' Jim Leger skated to the left post and one-timed a cross-ice pass from Dmitri Tarabrin, who was along side the right-wing boards.
The Storm's league-best power play tied the game two minutes later via a Patterson goal. Toledo took a 2-1 advantage after a great individual effort by left wing Sam Katsuras at 16:00 of the first.
Williamson made sure the Chiefs wouldn't come back by scoring shorthanded 4:25 into the third. Williamson added two more goals, and Ryan Gaucher scored once.