The Storm found itself in an unusual position last night, trailing after two periods of play for the first time this season at the Sports Arena.
Twenty minutes later, Toledo finished its fifth game at One Main Street with the same result as the previous four.
Storm left winger Wes Mason scored a pair of unanswered power-play goals in the final period, helping Toledo rally for a 3-2 victory over Cincinnati.
Perfect on home ice, the Northwest Division-leading Storm is 6-0-1 overall in the East Coast Hockey League.
“It was just an awesome game,” Mason said. “I've been on a winning team before [a Turner Cup championship in 2001 with Orlando in the International Hockey League] and this is a winning team.”
A winning team that had to overcome a listless first period and a 2-1 deficit after two.
“We played awful in the first period,” said center Dale Junkin, who finished with two assists against the Cyclones. “Actually three bad periods in a row at home [including the second and third periods in Friday's win over Wheeling], then two good ones. It shows the kind of guys we've got in this room.”
Defenseman Grady Moore helped set up Mason's tying and winning goals. With ex-Storm defenseman Ryan Gaucher off for hooking, the Bowling Green State University product let a shot go from the point. The puck bounced wide off the backboards and out to Mason at the side of the crease, where he tipped the equalizer home at 10:05.
Moore has two goals and three assists in seven games. He had no points in the same number of starts for last year's Toledo club.
“We have an unbelievable coach [in Claude Noel],” Moore said. “I think I had a pretty good game when I got here, but he just makes me better every day and we've got 20 guys that are usually in the right spot at the right time.”
Including Mason on the man-advantage winner. He picked up Junkin's backhander floating loose in the slot at 12:22 and fired it in for his fourth goal of the season.
“I think the win is huge from a character standpoint,” said Noel, who spent much of the contest shuffling lines trying to find the right combinations. “We persevered and I think that's a great sign for us.”
FINLEY UPDATE: The Storm has placed netminder Brian Finley on the seven-day injured reserve list.
The former No. 1 pick of the Nashville Predators (sixth overall) in the 1999 NHL entry draft left Friday's contest midway through the second period when his surgically repaired groin began acting up.
“He's going to be off for a couple of weeks,” Noel said. “He'll probably be evaluated through Nashville, but we're going to try to help the process.”
Toledo assistant coach Mark Bernard dressed as the emergency backup last night. A goalie for the 2000-01 Storm, Bernard stood behind the bench in full gear, handling the defensive pairings as he would in a suit.
To take Finley's place, the Storm has signed free agent Martin Fillion who went 10-8-3 with a goals-against average of 3.01 with Fort Wayne of the United Hockey League. He'll dress tonight in Dayton.
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