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Published: Sunday, 1/23/2005

Storm suffers power failure

BY DAN SAEVIG
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

They had three 5-on-3 power-play opportunities and 38 shots on goal, yet the Storm picked up only one point last night at the Sports Arena.

Toledo dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to the Dayton Bombers largely because it was unable to convert any of the trio of two-man opportunities, going 0-for-8 overall with the man advantage.

That power failure, combined with the efforts of Dayton's Janne Jokila, who scored the game-tying goal on the power play with 2:39 left in regulation and then the winner with just 58 seconds remaining in OT, prevented the Storm from moving into sole possession of fourth place in the ECHL's North Division.

Toledo is now tied with Trenton for the final playoff spot, although the Titans have three games in hand.

"The power-play wasn't going," Storm coach Nick Vitucci said. "And that, combined with spending a lot of time on the penalty kill, puts a lot of emphasis on your special teams."

Dayton's lone power-play goal in six tries really hurt. Toledo had rallied to grab a 2-1 lead on third-period markers by Noah Whyte - his first as a professional was a short-side wrister at 1:54 - and Maris Ziedins at 3:39, but when Andrew Oke grabbed a double-minor for roughing in a center-ice post-whistle scrum, the Storm lead was in danger.

"We addressed playing between the whistles after the first period and again after the second," Vitucci said. "And not stupid horse manure that's going to cost us after it. That's the result, right there."

Jokila's equalizer was a rocket, a wrist shot that rimmed the post and cross-bar. The goal light never went on, but referee Jamie Koharski immediately singaled that the game was tied.

The game-winner didn't require as much skill. Jokila simply had to push the winner into a wide open net.

With the puck slightly behind and to the right of the Toledo goal line after Sam Paolini failed to clear the zone, Storm netminder Scott Fankhouser went to help out, only to get caught when Scott Cameron sent the disc to an unattended Jokila who didn't miss.

"The puck got dumped in and I jumped out to get the guy and flip it out and he just blindly threw it out," Fankhouser said. "I turned around and [Jokila] was in front.

"[Cameron] had his back to me and I figured that was my best chance. There was nobody really around. I thought everyone was in front of the net, so I didn't think there was a problem there."

With a 3 p.m. rematch with the Bombers looming today at One Main Street, Toledo has now earned 13 of a potential 18 points in its last nine games (6-2-1).

NOTE: In a post-game auction of the jerseys worn by the 1975 Goaldiggers in the old-timers game, reunion organizer Ted Tucker's went for a whopping $950.



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