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Published: Saturday, 12/22/2001

Storm iron man: MacDonald's 33 saves, posts top Nailers

BY DAN SAEVIG
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Toledo goaltender Joey MacDonald stops a first-period shot as Wheeling's Jeremy Brown (22) moves in for a rebound last night at the Sports Arena. MacDonald made 33 saves against the Nailers. Toledo goaltender Joey MacDonald stops a first-period shot as Wheeling's Jeremy Brown (22) moves in for a rebound last night at the Sports Arena. MacDonald made 33 saves against the Nailers.
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Any debate over whether it's better to be good or lucky was left unanswered by Toledo Storm goaltender Joey MacDonald last night at the Sports Arena.

Turns out he was a little bit of both.

The 21-year-old East Coast Hockey League rookie stopped 33 of 35 Wheeling shots and was the beneficiary of three Nailers' efforts that hit the post and one that clanked off the crossbar.

His performance and the fortunate bounces helped Toledo defeat Wheeling 6-2.

The victory ends a two-game Storm losing skid and halts a five-game Nailers' winning streak.

“When you're good, you're lucky,” Toledo coach Dennis Holland said of MacDonald.

“He was way out in his crease, he took away the angles and there were very few rebounds. He was very sound tonight.”

MacDonald heard lots of sounds in the first 6:44 of the second period. In that short span, Wheeling hit the red iron four times behind the netminder.

“That's what it's there for,” said MacDonald with a grin. “I had a little bit of luck behind my back tonight.”

Although he was a tad lucky, the netminder was much better at being good. Among his notable stops were breakaways by Doug Schmidt in the second period, and two clear-cut solo chances by Bruce Watson in the third.

“I felt real confident out there,” MacDonald said. “I was fortunate to make a couple of big saves when the team needed it and it helped the tempo of the hockey game.”

Ex-Storm tough guy Ken Tasker gave Toledo a big tempo boost late in the second period, too.

With the score 3-2, he drew a delayed penalty for slashing Alexandre Jacques in the Wheeling zone. MacDonald made it back to the bench for the extra skater as the play continued without the Nailers touching the puck.

Shawn Maltby eventually worked the puck to Jacques in the slot and he lifted the puck over fallen Wheeling goalie Tyler MacKay to give the Storm a two-goal cushion.

It was Tasker's only shift of the second period. He was decisioned by the Storm's Yuri Moscevsky in a third-period fight and after that fight, one of the more popular players in Toledo hockey history was taunted by many in the crowd of 4,244.

One other name that was called was Tim Verbeek's.

The Storm left wing was mentioned over the public-address system when he scored his second goal of the season late in the contest.

It was the first goal since Nov.4 for the Detroit Red Wings' pro who had 23 last season in Toledo.

“I think I was thinking about it too much,” Verbeek said.

“When you're not scoring, you're thinking about it and that makes it even harder to score. It is pretty frustrating, but things like that happen. You've just gotta forget about it and concentrate on other things.”

Perhaps things like being a little good and a little lucky.

NOTES: Storm forward Kevin Kerr scored an empty-net goal and had three second assists. He finished with a team-best plus-3 in the plus/minus column. ... Jeff Wells, a teacher filling in on defense this weekend for Toledo, found his legs as the game wore on and was plus-1. He hasn't played since last season when he skated in Japan. ... Hundreds of teddy bears were tossed on the ice after the Storm's first goal. They will be donated to the City of Toledo fire department to hand out on emergency runs. ... Fans are asked to bring canned goods or non-perishable items for tonight's 7:30 start against Peoria at One Main Street. The donations will be given to the Toledo SeaGate Food Bank. ... Toledo has placed forward Ryan Baker and defenseman Jeff Kozakowski on the seven-day injured-reserve list. ... Named earlier this week as a starter for the Southern Conference in the Jan. 22 all-star game in Trenton, N.J., 1995 Springfield High School graduate Adam Edinger was called up yesterday from New Orleans of the ECHL to Cincinnati of the American Hockey League. Edinger, who also played at Bowling Green State University, leads the Coast in goals with 22 in 30 games.



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