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Published: Saturday, 2/26/2005

Judson all-time top scorer for Storm in victory

BY DAN SAEVIG
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
The Storm's Todd Jackson, left, battles with Jean Desroches of Johnstown for the puck at the Sports Arena last night. The Storm's Todd Jackson, left, battles with Jean Desroches of Johnstown for the puck at the Sports Arena last night.
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Rick Judson isn't positive, but he thinks his first goal in a Storm uniform came on a rebound against Nashville.

It was late in the team's inaugural season of 1991-92, in Judson's first game as a professional out of the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Thirteen years later, he's still producing.

Last night at the Sports Arena, in a 4-1 win over Johnstown that moved Toledo (30-19-4) into sole possession of second place in the ECHL North, the 35-year-old became the all-time leading goal scorer in the history of the Storm franchise.

Judson scored twice, once in the first period and another in the third. It was that first goal - the 191st of his Toledo career - that broke the record he shared with Andrew Williamson.

"I've played a long time," said Judson, who has spent parts of nine seasons with the Storm. "I've been fortunate to play on some very good teams and win two [Riley Cup] championships. It's been a long time, but some of those teams and some of those championships seem like yesterday. Those are memories I'll always be able to take with me.

"I've played other places, but I've always had the most fun here."

Judson's record-setting goal came during a four-on-four sequence at 13:27 of the first.

Linemate Shawn Collymore fired a shot that Johnstown goalie David Cann kicked out with his leg pads. The rebound bounced about 10 feet in front of the cage, where a hard-charging Judson pounced and roofed a shot under the cross-bar.

The contest was stopped, Judson was given the record-setting puck, and Storm vice president and general manager Mike Miller came on the ice to present an engraved glass sculpture recognizing the accomplishment.

"I'm glad for him and proud of him,'' Toledo coach Nick Vitucci said. "I'm able to coach him, I was a teammate of his here, and I'm a friend of his.''

Toledo was sound at both ends of the ice on Judson's special evening when he scored his 10th and 11th markers of the season. The club got strong goaltending from Scott Fankhouser, additional goals from Paul Ballantyne and Robert Snowball, solid defensive containment, and the backline moved the puck well.

"That's the best we've played in the last eight or nine games,'' Vitucci said. "It was a good night for all of us.''

Especially for Judson, who entered the dressing room to a rousing cheer from his teammates when a post-game television interview was complete.

Later, he admitted there won't be many more nights of applause.

"This will be my last year,'' Judson said. "It's time to move on. I told Nick this summer that I wanted to come back and finish my career on a good note. I never thought about the record. I just wanted to go out as a winner and this team is winning.''



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