Gifted goalie Drew MacIntyre was expected to embark on one more midnight run back to Toledo last night to make another remarkable return to a Storm team that seems to play at another level in front of him.
MacIntyre was expected to fly back from Winnepeg this morning into Toledo Express and be back in net for the Storm at 6 p.m. in the Sports Arena. Mac-
Intyre said last night that the odds were good for his return for Game 4 of Toledo's ECHL American Conference final series in which the Storm trails 2-1 to Gwinnett.
MacIntyre has been the backup for Grand Rapids for its second-round AHL series against the Manitoba Moose since May 3.
"I've said all along that if I got the chance to come back, I would try my hardest to take it," MacIntyre said yesterday from western Canada. "They've been my team all year and I still want to win a Kelly Cup. We have way too good of an opportunity to pass this up."
MacIntyre was called up to Grand Rapids immediately after he helped the Storm knock Wheeling out of the division finals. MacIntyre is 5-0 with a 1.80 goals against average in the playoffs for Toledo.
He drove overnight from Toronto to West Virginia to lead the Storm to a series-saving win on April 29 and clinched it with another victory in Game 5 in Toledo on May 2.
Since his absence the Storm has fallen behind in its conference final series against Gwinnett. Toledo split two games in Duluth, Ga. but lost 4-2 Friday night at the Sports Arena.
"I can't say enough about him coming back to a league where all the players want to get to where he is at," said Storm coach Nick Vitucci. "He just wants to contribute to this team's success as he has all season."
But Vitucci said MacIntyre's return is not guaranteed because of a variety of issues, particularly potential travel problems.
After last night's game, the Griffins series' shifts back to Michigan for Game 6 tomorrow night.
"There's a chance he will be in the lineup [tonight]," Vitucci said. "I'll be more comfortable when I see the whites of his eyes."
MacIntyre did see mop up duty in the Griffin's 5-1 loss on Thursday, but has kept a close eye on the Storm's series with the Gladiators.
"It will be fun," MacIntyre said. "Nothing compares to Toledo. I'll be at my best and it will be up to us to give the fans something to cheer about."
In MacIntyre's place, goalie Logan Koopmans has posted a 2-4 record and 4.05 GAA.
But Vitucci pointed out that Koopmans essentially stole Game 2 by making 54 saves.
"This is not to take away from Koops," Vitucci said. "He played well again on Friday night. We will need Logan to continue to be big for us."
- Mark Monroe