KEARNEY, Neb. (Press release) – The Tri-City Storm clinched the fifth Western Conference regular season championship in the organization’s 22-year history on Sunday afternoon in an 8-6 victory over the Sioux City Musketeers.
Storm forward Jeremy Wilmer beat former Storm forward and 2019 Stanley Cup champion Jaden Schwartz’s single-season organizational points record during the game. Wilmer scored his game-high 84th point of the regular season on a 2nd period goal scored by Cole O’Hara. The 2021-22 Tri-City Storm squad set a new organizational record for most goals scored in a single season in the win. This year’s Storm team scored 236 goals, more than any previous team in organizational history. Cole O’Hara, Mitchell Miller, Mason Wheeler, Ilya Nikolaev, Jeremy Wilmer, Kieran Cebrian, Josh Eernisse and Lleyton Roed all scored in Sunday’s game for Tri-City. Arsenii Sergeev picked up his league-leading 28th win of the season in the Storm goal.
Sioux City outshot Tri-City 7-6 in the 1st period and the game went into the 2nd period in a scoreless tie. Sunday’s second period featured seven combined goals and eighty-two penalty minutes between the top two teams in the Western Conference. Cole O’Hara opened the scoring with his 24th goal of the season 44 seconds into the second period. Jeremy Wilmer recorded an assist on the play and became the organization’s new single-season points record holder with his 84th point of the year. Mitchell Miller scored his team-leading 37th of the season at 9:14 of the second period to give the Storm a two-goal lead. Jeremy Wilmer recorded an assist on the power-play goal and became the new single-season power-play assist record holder with his 26th power-play assist of the year. Ilya Nikolaev also registered an assist on goal play. Mason Wheeler scored his fourth goal of the season at 11:02 of Sunday’s second period to give Tri-City a 3-0 lead in the game. Wheeler’s goal was assisted by Tanner Adams and Jeremy Wilmer. Ilya Nikolaev scored a power play goal with less than five minutes remaining in the period to increase the Storm’s advantage to four goals. The goal was his 22nd of the season and was scored on the power play. Cole O’Hara and Vinny Borgesi recorded an assist on goal play. Jeremy Wilmer scored his 22nd goal of the season at 16:27 of the period to give Tri-City a 5-0 lead. The goal was scored on the power play and was assisted by Cole O’Hara. Kieran Cebrian scored his ninth goal of the season eight seconds later to give the Storm a 6-0 lead. Cebrian’s goal was assisted by Josh Eernisse. The final goal of Sunday’s 2nd period was scored seconds later by Sioux City’s Dylan James. Tri-City outshot Sioux City 16-11 in the period and led a five-goal lead in the 3rd period.
An assortment of penalties was included with Sunday’s 2nd period. Andrew Strathmann received a double-minor roughing penalty and a ten-minute misconduct penalty at 5:09 of the period following an altercation with Sioux City’s Owen Fowler. Fowler leads the league in penalty minutes with 196 penalty minutes tallied so far in the 2021-22 regular season. Lleyton Roed and Sam Deckhut of the Musketeers each received a five-minute major for fighting and a ten-minute misconduct penalty following an altercation at 13:54 of the 2nd period. Deckhut also received a two-minute minor penalty for cross-checking. Dane Dowiak and Owen Fowler of Sioux City were each penalized at 14:47 of the 2nd period for roughing. Each player also received a ten-minute misconduct penalty.
Sunday’s third period featured seven combined goals and forty-eight combined penalty minutes. The Musketeers scored four straight goals to start the 3rd period almost a goal clear of the Storm. The first goal of Sunday’s final period was scored by Sioux City’s Luke Antonacci. The scoring game was his sixth of the season and was assisted by Bennett Schimek and Dylan James. The goal was scored at 4:30 of the 3rd period and made the game 6-2. Garrett Brown scored his third goal of the season at 6:47 of the period to close the Storm lead. Brown’s goal was assisted by Tabor Heaslip and Nick Pierre. The goal was scored on the power play. Dylan James scored his second goal of the game, and his 27th goal of the year, 7:42 into the third period to put the Musketeers within two goals of the Storm lead. The goal was assisted by Bennett Schimek and Luke Antonacci. Sioux City’s last goal of a five-goal unanswered streak came at 10:36 of Sunday’s third period by Tabor Heaslip. The goal was his 11th of the year and was assisted by Charlie Schoen. Josh Eernisse scored his fifth shorthanded goal of the season at 11:44 of the 3rd period to give the Storm a 7-5 lead. The scoring play was Eernisse’s eighth goal of the year and was assisted by Kieran Cebrian. Lleyton Roed gave Tri-City another shorthanded goal on the same Sioux City power play to increase the Storm’s lead to three goals. Roed’s goal was his 22nd of the year and was assisted by Ilya Nikolaev. The goal was scored at 13:22 of the 3rd period and was the last scoring play of the game for Tri-City. Bennett Schimek scored his 10th goal of the season at 16:05 of Sunday’s third period to make the game 8-6. The goal was assisted by Tomi Leppanen. Sioux City opted to withdraw goaltender Kristoffer Eberly in the final minutes of the game in an attempt to tie the game. Tri-City skated with a two-goal win to clinch the fifth regular-season conference title in organization history. The Musketeers outshot the Storm 13-8 in Sunday’s 3rd period and 31-30 overall in the game.
Arsenii Sergeev stopped 25 of Sioux City’s 31 shots during the game to record the Storm’s goal win. He improved to 28-6-1-1 this season in Tri-City goal. Kristoffer Eberly took the loss in the Sioux City goal after stopping 22 of Tri-City’s 30 shots on net during the game. Eberly recorded his first loss of the season in goal and fell to 3-1-0-0 on the season in goal for Sioux City.
Sunday’s game featured twenty-nine penalties for a total of one hundred and thirty-nine penalty minutes. Tri-City hit a new season high for most penalty minutes recorded in a single game with seventy-eight in Sunday’s game. Sioux City also set a new team mark for most penalty minutes recorded in a single game during the regular season in Sunday’s game. The Musketeers conceded fifty-seven penalty minutes in the game.
Cole O’Hara was named the game’s 1st star, with teammates Jeremy Wilmer and Josh Eernisse earning 2nd and 3rd star honors respectively. Sunday’s game was played in front of a crowd of 1,914 at the Viaero Center.
Tri-City moved to 43-10-3-1 in the 2021-22 regular season following Sunday’s 8-6 home win over Sioux City. The Storm are now 40-10-2-1 against Western Conference competition and hold a record of 23-3-0-1 in games played at Viaero Center this season. The Storm won the regular season series against the Musketeers by winning six of nine games played. Tri-City is now one point away from capturing the third Anderson Cup championship in organizational history.
Tri-City still has two regular season home games on Tuesday, April 19 and Friday, April 22. The Storm will host the Fargo Force on April 19 and play their final home game of the 2021-22 regular season against the Lincoln Stars on April 22.
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