WHEELING, W.Va. - The Toledo Storm picked the right time to end a six-game winless streak in visiting rinks.
The Storm invaded Wheeling last night, taking advantage of the Northwest Division's weariest team in a 3-1 victory at the Wheeling Civic Center.
The Toledo win keeps the Storm one point ahead of the Peoria Rivermen, who beat Dayton 4-2 last night.
The Storm heads to Johnstown tonight and to Reading tomorrow.
“We hadn't won in regulation in six [games] on the road, so we are happy with this,” said Toledo head coach Claude Noel.
“You have to give them [Wheeling] credit. They have a lot of defenseman dressed but not a lot of forwards. From a skill level it was hard for them to generate much. The ice wasn't too good, but I think they played pretty hard against us.”
While the Nailers have struggled against most of their opponents this year, perhaps no one has managed to dominate the Wheeling team like the Storm. Head coach John Brophy's team has managed to defeat Toledo only once this season, a shootout win in December.
“We can't make excuses because of call-ups because they [Toledo] have call-ups, too,” said Brophy.
After taking a 1-0 lead on a Dmitri Doulebenets power-play goal at the 7:09 mark of the first period, the Nailers allowed the Storm to pepper goaltender Tyler MacKay the remainder of the night. While MacKay faced 50 shots, Wheeling's few scoring chances resulted in poor angle shots, or a simple fan on the puck in hopes of directing it towards the net.
Matt Ellis scored on a wrist shot from the high slot to tie the game at 14:36 of the first. The Storm took the lead at 6:03 of the second. Timo Helbling wristed a shot from the right wing circle past the stick side of MacKay. Toledo followed with a shorthanded goal as Tim Verbeek took advantage of the sluggish ice after a giveaway by the Nailers.
“On the shorthanded goal they were trying to make a play and the ice just didn't allow it. It was a tough turnover for them, but we were talking about the ice all night. The puck was bouncing all over the place,” Noel said.
“We just wanted to be efficient and keep it simple.”