READING, Pa. - While getting four crucial points in back-to-back games against the Reading Royals, the Toledo Storm found some confidence in its backup goaltender.
Depending on the status of Drew MacIntyre and the health of Logan Koopmans down the stretch, the emergence of Bryan Worosz as a capable option in net could be more important than those two wins.
The 25-year-old rookie made 26 stops yesterday as the Storm held off the Royals for a 4-2 win at the Sovereign Center. Worosz started three games during the weekend and played progressively better in each.
"I'm really happy with Bryan Worosz," Storm coach Nick Vitucci said. "He played three games in three nights after not really playing all year.
"In the first game Friday night in Johnstown, he was a little rusty and we expected that. I thought [Saturday] he would play a good game, and he did. I thought today, he was really sharp."
The third-place Storm (24-13-5) took three games of a four-in-five-days road swing to move to within nine points of first with five games in hand.
MacIntyre was expected to start yesterday after being sent down from Grand Rapids of the AHL, but his travel plans were disrupted by the snowstorm that struck the Northeast.
Worosz was solid in his place, making several tough saves while allowing a power-play goal and a breakaway score to the Royals (27-12-6).
Both of those goals came off the stick of Dany Roussin, with the second tying it 2-2 with 9:21 remaining. Toledo regained the lead 2:33 later after Gerry Burke's shot bounced off defenseman Chris Barr.
With the puck at Barr's feet, Mike James quickly swung and knocked it into the net to make it 3-2.
The Storm killed a pair of power plays in the final six minutes, during which Worosz gloved a T.J. Kemp slap shot from the left point, before Chris Blight's empty-netter sealed it with 23.9 seconds to play.
"It's nice to know that we can [go to him] now," Vitucci said of Worosz. "He needed to prove that. I think he did this weekend. He was sort of untested.
"But I think this weekend he made a lot of strides, not only with his own game but also in the eyes of his teammates as well."