KEARNEY — After suffering a 4-0 setback to Omaha last weekend, the Tri-City Storm look to rebound with the start of a four-game homestand that’s set to start at 7:05 p.m. Friday against the Fargo Force.
The Storm fell to 21-29 and are the odd men out right now in the Clark Cup playoffs.
Currently Tri-City is seventh in the West and looking up at Des Moines for the final playoff spot. The top six qualify for postseason play.
Since the Storm are battling for the final spot in the playoffs, each game is important, especially games played at the Viaero Events Center.
“We’ve been playing playoff hockey for the past month and haven’t admitted it yet,” Storm assistant coach Eric Fink said. “We don’t want to pressure the kids and say we need to win 3 of the 4 games at home ... we just need to take it one game at a time.”
The Storm haven’t had much success against Fargo this season, but that’s not going to stop them from playing hard and defending their home ice.
“Fargo has our number this season (1-5). We just need to forget about the season series and focus on our hockey and play well in front of our fans,” he said.
The Storm have been dealing with various injuries, including the loss of defenseman Josh McCardle to a season-ending injury; the main goal is to stay healthy and compete for the final playoff spot.
“We were forced to move Kenny Brooks to defense,” Fink said. “He had to play defense last season, so the move isn’t all that bad. Since he’s comfortable playing defense we are able to give other players on offense a shot ... these things happen.”
Brooks just wants to help the team out however possible.
“All I want to do is win,” he said. “Sometimes you can’t control the situation and you have to adjust. That’s just part of life.”
Despite the loss last weekend, there’s been a sense of jubilation surrounding the Storm since former player Jaden Schwartz signed an entry-level contract with the St. Louis Blues.
“We are all proud of Jaden,” Fink said. “It’s been great to see him grow. I’m sure the coaches at Colorado College deserve just as much credit for helping him develop, but it’s rewarding to know that we helped mold him.”
Fink also believes Schwartz’s signing says a lot about the United States Hockey League.
“There are plenty of junior leagues across the United States and Canada,” he said. “In Canada we just saw a team with a 50-game win streak ... but that’s not going to happen in the USHL. Each team is evenly talented and that prepares players for college and in Jaden’s case, the highest level of hockey that’s out there.”