The Toledo Storm matched the second-best team in the ECHL shift-for-shift last night, but was still pinned with another frustrating loss.
Las Vegas got the game-winner on an unassisted goal by Shawn Limpright with just 1:38 left in the game. The Wranglers knocked off the Storm 3-2 to defeat Toledo for the second straight night at the Sports Arena.
Both teams finished with 33 shots on goal.
"We went out and scratched and clawed and did everything we had to do," said Storm coach Nick Vitucci. "Unfortunately we fell a bit short."
Toledo will attempt to salvage a couple points out of this weekend's three-game homestand today when it takes on North Division foe Johnstown at 3 p.m.
The Storm (9-7-3) dropped its third in a row and fell nine points behind first-place Reading. The Wranglers (15-4-2) improved to 9-1-1 in their last 11 games and holds the second-best record in the league.
"They are a solid, all-around hockey club," Vitucci said. "You have to look at that, too, with these two losses."
Toledo goaltender Bryan Worosz, who was just signed yesterday, looked solid if not spectacular. Worosz made 30 saves in his debut with the Storm.
"I thought he played very well," Vitucci said.
He said Worosz had no chance at stopping the game-winner.
"The ref was in the way. He was in a bad position. The puck hit the ref and bounced right into the slot," Vitucci said.
Limpright made no mistake and lit the lamp in the game's waning moments to deflate the 3,686 spectators.
Just moments earlier things looked bright when Toledo tied things on Mark Turner's wraparound goal with 8:40 left in the game. Turner finished plus-two with a goal and an assist.
Las Vegas scored two of its goals on the power play and was 2 of 8 on the man advantage. Toledo was 0 for 5 on the power play.
Toledo defenseman Gerry Burke maintained his hot hand by scoring his third point in two nights with the Storm's first goal of the game.
Burke skated into the slot and beat Las Vegas goalie Marc Magliarditi over his right shoulder with a quick snap shot.
But Toledo's initial and only lead lasted just 1:23. Chris Stanley and Tyler Sloan then scored back-to-back unanswered goals to give the Wranglers a 2-1 lead after two periods.
"We always have that never-say-die attitude. We can rely on that when we need it," Vitucci said.
Toledo maintained the pressure in the third and was rewarded with Turner's third goal of the year.
"We went out and competed and battled," Vitucci said. "We can build off of this. I can leave here tonight with the feeling that we're coming along here. It certainly was a lot more positive than it was [Friday].
"We need the same effort [today]. Anything less will not be good enough. We just need to get some points."
NOTES: The Storm made another addition to its roster with the signing of forward Matt Schmidt yesterday. Schmidt was acquired from Utah of the ECHL where he did not register a point in nine games. He did not have a point last night. ... Another of the Storm's newest players, right winger Jeff Doyle, started last night's game. Doyle, who made the first big check of the game, did not have a shot or point. ... Vitucci had a heated, face-to-face argument with referee Shaun Davis after Turner was called for slashing and roughing on the same play midway through the second period. ... The Wranglers scored their second goal of the game when Bracken Kearns was left without a stick. Kearns had his hands up attempting to point out the penalty when Sloan scored. ... Toledo had 22 penalty minutes in the third period, while Las Vegas had 12. ... Storm forward Jeff Attard, who was playing against his former teammates, was even with two shots. Attard played for the Wranglers the last two seasons. ... Toledo is missing three of its top seven scorers. Todd Jackson (16 points in 11 games), Brad Bonello (12 points in 13 games) and P.J. Martin (12 points in 12 games) all have been called up to the AHL. ... Enforcer Rob Snowball will miss two more weeks with an injured hand. ... Logan Koopmans, the team's No. 1 goalie, had successful shoulder surgery on Friday. ... Toledo native and veteran Rick Judson had a solid hit late in the first period.
Contact Mark Monroe at: email@example.com or 419-724-6110.