Russell Spence picked up the Storm s biggest assist last evening without recording a single point.
The winger s second period check and the response that followed broke open a scoreless contest, helping Toledo romp to a 6-0 victory over the Roanoke Express at the Sports Arena.
Early in the second period, Spence leveled David Silverstone with a crushing neutral zone shoulder-to-shoulder hit along the boards near the Roanoke bench.
Silverstone lay in a heap for about four minutes before he was helped to the dressing room and subsequently taken from the facility on a stretcher.
On the faceoff that followed, Neil Posillico - thinking the unpenalized hit was dirty - began flailing away on Spence with his fists. The rookie covered up without dropping his stick or gloves and Posillico picked up a fighting major and a game misconduct, putting the Storm on the power-play.
That s when Toledo began to control the scoreboard like it had the contest.
“When the guy jumped me off the draw it gave us a chance to put it back in their face,” Spence said. “That s exactly what we did.”
Alexandre Jacques started it off at 3:00, tipping in Tom Nemeth s point shot. Just under three minutes later, Jacques and Nemeth teamed up again, this time assisting on Nick Parillo s five-on-three man advantage slapper.
The rout continued when Rick Judson scored an even strength goal at 14:35, followed by another Jacques power-play tally at 16:07.
Paul Ballantyne closed the second period outburst at 17:30. Morten Ask got the lone goal of the third in the fight-filled contest.
“We ve been saying, When we finally bust out of this, it s going to be nice, ” said Storm coach Nick Vitucci, whose club broke a three-game losing streak. “It s unfair that we haven t been rewarded for our effort and hard work and tonight we finally were. Four of our last five games could have been like this.”
Newcomer Jimi St. John recorded the shutout, stopping 31 shots in his Storm debut after joining the team Friday from the United Hockey League.
“The beginning of the game, Landon [Bathe] and Waltzie [Kris Waltze] getting into fights, set the tone,” St. John said. “Then the [Spence] hit and I was able to make some saves. It all helped.”
Nothing more, though, than Spence s collision.
“I think they lost it after that,” said Jacques, who finished with four points. “I saw it perfectly, it was a clean hit. It s too bad the guy got hurt like that, but it sparked the game. It was the turning point for us. They lost it after that, their composure, and we took advantage of it.”
NOTES: According to Storm trainer Brian Moore, Silverstone was taken to Bay Park Community Hospital with what was believed to be a concussion. ... Toledo is now 18-21-4 and remains eighth of nine teams in the ECHL s Northern Division. ... Canton school teacher Jeff Wells filled in on defense for the Storm and had four shots on goal. He will not play today in Peoria.