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Published: Saturday, 12/11/2004

Storm scores 1st, last, but blasted between

BY DAN SAEVIG
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Shawn Collymore passes neatly to Sam Paolini who gave the Storm an early lead. Paolini scored a pair of goals in a 4-3 loss. Shawn Collymore passes neatly to Sam Paolini who gave the Storm an early lead. Paolini scored a pair of goals in a 4-3 loss.
ALLAN DETRICH / BLADE Enlarge

The Storm outscored Trenton in the first and third periods last night at the Sports Arena.

But a total collapse in the middle frame - one which saw the visitors rally from a 1-0 deficit to score four unanswered goals in an eventual 4-3 victory - sent Toledo to its second consecutive loss and the fourth in its last five outings.

"One bad period has been doing it to us the whole year, every loss we've had,'' said Storm winger Sam Paolini, who scored twice. "One period and it comes back to bite us. I don't know what it is, if guys get complacent but we've gotta correct it. Something has to be done.''

After Paolini had given his club the 1-0 opening period edge, the Titans responded with four in a span of 9:28 beginning at 3:12 of the second. Steve Cygan scored, then Mathieu Brunelle. Those markers were followed by power-play goals off the sticks of Bryce Cockburn and Matt Zultek.

"You get down, 2-1, 3-1, 4-1, and the crowd's not into it, the guys on the bench aren't into it; somebody's gotta do something,'' Paolini said. "Somebody's gotta step up and get the crowd back into it with a big hit, a fight, or something.''

"Guys gotta look at themselves and say, 'What do I do for this team?' If it's hitting a guy or getting in a guy's face after the whistle to get the crowd going or getting the team going, you gotta do that.''

But no one - including experienced players like Reggie Savage and Rick Judson - kicked it up a notch during the onslaught to grab the leadership mantle in front of the announced crowd of 2,813.

At least not until it was too late.

"You know what, it's everybody,'' Storm coach Nick Vitucci said. "You just don't point at your veteran hockey players or your old guys. You play a great third period as we did, it's 16 guys busting their rear ends and a 17th in goal. The same goes on the negative. Everybody needs to be faulted for it. It's not just one guy or one person that caused four goals by any means.''

During the second intermission, Vitucci said he voiced his frustration. The Storm responded by outshooting Trenton 13-3 in the third while getting goals from Tyler Knight and Paolini.

"I basically threatened them with their jobs,'' Vitucci said. "I sit out a kid like Noah Whyte, who works his tail off every time he's on the ice. He's 170 pounds soaking wet and he plays like he's 220 pounds and I have to look at him after practices and

tell him he's not playing.

"I know he understands because we've talked about it. But he's almost breaking down because he's not playing and for that for guys to float and coast like we did, when I know a guy like him is going to go hard every time he's on the ice?''

Storm players will have a chance to answer that and other questions tonight when the Titans are back at One Main Street for a 7:30 rematch.

Contact Dan Saevig at:

dsaevig@theblade.com.

ANN ARBOR - Bowling Green jumped to a 3-0 lead after one period, before Michigan stormed back to record an 8-3 victory.

Steve Brudzewski tallied twice, with Alex Rogosheske supplying the other goal.

The Falcons fell to 8-5-2 overall and 5-4-3 in the CCHA, while the Wolverines improved to 12-4-1, 10-1-0.



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