JOHNSTOWN, Pa. - The Toledo Storm spoiled a milestone party last night at Cambria County War Memorial Arena.
The Storm beat the Johnstown Chiefs 4-2 in the 1,000th ECHL game in Chiefs' history.
A standing-room-only crowd of 4,070 attended - Johnstown's first sellout since New Year's Eve 1998 - but left disappointed after another solid outing by Storm goaltender Doug Teskey, who had 39 saves in his 21st win.
“That's what we wanted to do,” Storm coach Claude Noel said, when it was suggested Toledo put a damper on the Chiefs' festive night.
“The way we looked at it, if we wanted to view it as an environment type of game, we better get used to it for the playoffs,” Noel said of the large, noisy crowd in the small arena. “The playoffs are much like this environment. We used this as another building block for our team.”
The Storm built a 3-0 advantage after defenseman Brandon Fleenor converted a partial breakaway into a power-play goal 9:45 into the first, and Timo Helbling and Wes Mason scored goals 1:33 apart in the second period.
Johnstown finally got the crowd into the game when forward Sam St. Pierre netted a power-play goal at 7:02 of the second.
Chiefs right wing Lukas Smital used a wrap around and lifted a shot over a diving Teskey at 10:47, his Johnstown record-tying 106th career goal.
Mason stopped Johnstown's momentum with a goal at 16:01, after he rushed down the left wing and took a shot that caromed off goalie Peter Aubry's stick and over his shoulder.
“We don't get too rattled,” Noel said. “We've been in that situation before. One thing our team does, our team trusts each other. We know we can play with a one-goal lead because we've done it all year. But the fourth goal was a huge goal for us. It was a bigger mountain for them to climb.”
The Chiefs are one of the original five ECHL teams from the 1988-89 season. Johnstown is the only franchise to remain in the same city.