Posted 2 years 7 days ago ago by David Fine
Kearney, Neb. – The Tri-City Storm (15-21-5-2, 37 pts., 8th Western) hosts the Des Moines Buccaneers (25-14-1-3, 54 pts., 3rd Western) for the final time at the Viaero Center Friday at 7:05 p.m. It’s “Friday Night Hockey” and all fans in attendance will receive a voucher for a free taco at Taco John’s. It’s also a $5 Kids Friday and all kids 12 and under receive a voucher for a free taco and soft drink at Kearney Taco Bell.
Both squads are playing their second game of the week; on Tuesday, Tri-City fell, 3-1, to Lincoln and the Buccaneers beat Sioux Falls, 4-1. The Storm is a point behind Sioux Falls and Omaha for sixth in the conference.
Affiliate Ryan Roth has joined the Storm for his second weekend with the team. The 16-year-old assisted on Tri-City’s game-winning goal in his debut January 28 against Team USA.
Tri-City has split the last two games with the Buccaneers, including a 9-1 victory on January 6.
The Storm is at Omaha Saturday at 7:05 p.m., with coverage starting at 6:45 p.m. on The Breeze 94.5 FM.
Tri-City begins a four-game home stand on Friday, February 24 against Sioux Falls on “Pack it In Purple Night”, presented by the Kearney Hub and the United Way. The Storm will wear one-night-only jerseys that will be auctioned off after the game. Saturday, February 25 against Sioux City is Hockey Appreciation Night, with a free postgame skate after, presented by Graham Tire.
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Viaero Wireless Pregame Show at 6:45 p.m.
Radio: The Breeze 94.5 FM | Listen Live |
Mobile: Free audio on your mobile device with the Tri-City Storm Mobile App (iPhone App Store // Google Play)
Streaming Video: Pay-to-watch on http://USHL.HockeyTV.com
Social: @TriCityStorm for in-game updates and broadcaster @RealDavidFine
Upcoming Schedule (Download here).
Fri., Feb. 17 vs. Des Moines, 7:05 p.m. (Friday Night Hockey, $5 Kids Friday)
Sat., Feb. 18 at Omaha, 7:05 p.m.
Fri., Feb. 24 vs. Sioux Falls, 7:05 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 25 vs. Sioux City, 7:05 p.m.
The Storm allowed eighteen shots in the first period to Lincoln Tuesday and Logan Halladay stopped 16. The netminder made 33 saves in his Tri-City debut. The Storm acquired the 20-year-old off waivers on February 6, the same day it traded five players in exchange for mainly for draft picks and prospects.
The third-year goalie is a native of Cary, North Carolina. After debuting with the Waterloo Black Hawks, Halladay spent 2014-17 with the Bloomington Thunder. The Merrimack commit has played in 83 games.
Mid-week showdowns are over
Tuesday’s game against Lincoln was the Storm’s final mid-week contest this season. Tri-City played seven games on either a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday and was 4-3-0-0.
Through the first four months of the season, the Storm played four times in the middle of the week, including a split against the Stars. Tri-City bested Omaha in consecutive Tuesday games on January 24 and 31.
Next season, the league calendar will be shortened by two weeks – from 28 to 26 – potentially allowing for more mid-week games.
Season series recap
Tri-City is 1-1-0-0 against Des Moines against the Viaero Center, and the two games were very different. On December 10, the Storm was shut out, 1-0, yielding the only goal to Kobe Roth with less than four minutes to play. A month later, January 6, Tri-City blasted Des Moines, 9-1.
As a result of that rout, the Storm has outscored Des Moines, 12-9, in the season series despite a 1-3-0-0 record.
Eight active Storm players have tallied against Des Moines. Nicholas Nardella (1g, 2a), Linus Weissbach (1g, 2a) and Wyllum Deveaux lead Tri-City with three points in the series. Des Moines’ David Keefer (2g, 2a) and Mario Ferraro (1g, 3a) are best on the Buccaneers.
Three players have multiple goals in the series: the Storm’s Danny DiGrande (2g) and Des Moines’ Keefer and Tommy Parrottino.
Eric Dop is 0-1-0-0 against Des Moines, allowing one goal on 26 shots December 10. Nick MacNab shut out the Storm that game. Jan Ruzicka has given up six goals in three appearances, good for a 2-1-0-0 mark.
The Storm’s 9-1 victory against Des Moines on January 6 was Tri-City’s largest victory in 15 seasons (Nov. 1, 2002, 10-1, Green Bay).
Nine Tri-City players scored, ten recorded multiple points and fourteen Tri-City players had at least one point. Linus Weissbach and Nicholas Nardella each had three.
Tri-City’s largest win came in an 11-1 rout of now-defunct Rochester in January 2001.
Coincidentally, the Storm has won by at least eight, technically, two times this season. In Tri-City’s first preseason game against Lincoln, the Storm won, 8-0. However, due to technical issues, the game was never made final on ushl.com. The handwritten box score was also lost.
Scouting the Buccaneers
Des Moines has dropped consecutive games in regulation just once this season (January 14-15) and the Buccaneers are on the verge of snapping a nine-season playoff drought. The Buccaneers have a three-point cushion on fifth-place Fargo/Lincoln. The top four teams in each conference make the playoffs.
Even though the team lacks a high number of back-to-back defeats, Des Moines has not had a winning streak longer than three this season.
Goaltending continues to be the squad’s bedrock; Jan Ruzicka and Nick MacNab, both returning netminders, are the only two teammates ranked in the top six of USHL goals against average. Ruzicka boasts a 17-8-1-1 record, 2.06 goals against average (3rd in USHL), .926 save percentage and four shutouts (T-1st USHL). MacNab has an 8-5-0-2 mark, 2.16 goals against average, .924 save percentage and three shutouts.
The Buccaneers lead the league with seven shutout wins this season, ahead of Green Bay (6). Des Moines is fourth in the league allowing 2.42 goals against per game.
David Keefer leads the group with 15 goals and 33 points.
Saturday in Omaha, the Storm drops the puck for the final time this season against the Lancers. Listen on the Breeze 94.5 FM with the Viaero Wireless Pregame Show at 6:45 p.m.
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