FAIRBORN, Ohio - NASCAR driver Sterling Marlin fired up the crowd of 5,200 as he dropped the opening puck but it was the Storm that drove home the win last night.
Toledo edged out Dayton 2-1 in the final minute of regulation play at the Wright State University Nutter Center as the Storm earned the fourth win in its last five games.
"I don't know if we
really deserved it, but we'll take it," Toledo head coach Nick Vitucci said. "I'm very happy getting out of here with two points."
A strong second effort by Storm forward Nick Parillo put the visitors on the board with 2:26 to play in the first period and Toledo held a 1-0 lead at the break.
There were plenty of shots but not a single score in the second period as Storm goalie Scott Fankhouser tallied 11 saves to hold the Bombers scoreless. Dayton almost doubled Toledo's shots on goal, 19-10, but the Storm maintained its lead after two periods of play.
"I think we played it very safe in the first period and Dayton really stepped it up in the second," Vitucci said. "Unfortunately, we've become very good at playing with a one-goal lead. We've got the offensive firepower, but nothing seems to come easy for us as far as scoring goals."
The Storm ranks 25th of 28 teams in scoring, as Toledo averages 2.47 goals per game. Dayton is close behind at 27th. It was the Bombers, however, who finally lit up the scoreboard in the third period, evening the contest when right wing Matt Herneisen powered in a goal with less than seven minutes to play. But Storm defenseman Doug Andress answered the score with a goal of his own, his first of the season, as he tapped one just past Dayton goalie Mike Ayers with 1:07 to play.
Fankhouser finished the night with 28 saves.
"He gives us a chance every game," Vitucci said of his goalie.
The Storm improved to 17-13-3 but will not have time to enjoy the win - Toledo travels to Johnstown today and Reading Sunday to finish a three-in-three road trip. Vitucci is looking for an increased level of intensity and more offense today as the Storm tries to build on its weekend-beginning win.
"Especially in our division, if you win two or three, you're just keeping pace. You're not leap-frogging over anybody," Vitucci said. "We've see-sawed all season, win three ... lose three. We need to step it up."