JOHNSTOWN, Pa. - Former Toledo Storm defenseman Ted Laviolette scored his first goal with his new team against his old team last night.
From Laviolette's perspective, the timing couldn't have been better.
The 6-1, 205-pound defenseman knocked in a rebound from the low slot with 35 seconds remaining in overtime, as the Johnstown Chiefs edged the Storm 5-4 before 3,532 fans at Cambria County War Memorial Arena.
The Storm (37-26-8) gained an important point in the standings for reaching overtime. More importantly, with Roanoke's 4-3 loss to Wheeling, Toledo clinched the No. 4 seed in the Northern Conference. The Storm will have home ice advantage against Roanoke in the first round of the playoffs.
The Chiefs (28-35-8) snapped an 0-3-2 streak.
“It's always nice when you play your former teammates and you get the game-winner,” said Laviolette, who scored his first goal with the Chiefs in his sixth game. “You try to play hard. Sometimes, you try to play too hard. The bottom line is to win the game.”
Laviolette scored on defenseman Brent Bilodeau's rebound after an open shot from the left point. Goaltender Mark Bernard made the initial stop, but Laviolette was in the right place at the right time, even though he took a hard hit before scoring.
“That was crazy, huh?” Chiefs coach Scott Allen said of the game-winner. “The way he got it, he basically got hammered into the puck. He had the sense to get down to the net on a shot by Bilodeau. He was cross-checked and as he was flying forward, he got his stick on it and shoveled it past Bernie for the goal.”
Storm right wing Rob Thorpe beat goaltender Dany Sabourin high on the stick side only 40 seconds into the game.
The Chiefs tied the score at 4:44 when Bernard skated into the right-wing circle to clear the puck and Johnstown rookie Edo Terglav intercepted the pass, turned and hit an open net.
Ryan Gaucher gave the Storm a 2-1 first-period advantage by converting a 2-on-1 break with Tim Verbeek at 14:05.
The second period was wide open. Johnstown's Ryan Chaytors scored short-handed at 1:58, and Toledo's Chris Bogas answered at 4:53.
Johnstown got power-play tallies by Chaytors at 7:24 and Jim Leger at 8:10 to lead 4-3. But the Storm's Derek Booth scored after a nice pass into the slot by Alexandre Jacques at 9:07.
The Storm closes out the regular season today at 3 p.m. at Wheeling.