Wade Moyls has given the Kamloops Storm new life - or, at the very least, one more game.
Moyls made 44 saves as the Storm fought off elimination in its KIJHL playoff series with a 1-0 victory over the North Okanagan Knights at McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre on Tuesday. The Storm still is down 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, with Game 5 scheduled for Thursday in Armstrong.
If this is the last game the Storm wins this season, Moyls made it a beauty. The 6-foot-6 Kamloops native was rock solid, stopping all the first chances and covering up the rebounds so there wouldn't be second chances.
It came a night after he was hung out to dry in Monday's 6-0 home loss.
"Last game, he kind of got away from things, and I think he was feeling down and a little upset . . ." Storm head coach Brad Priestlay said. "It just shows the character of the kid to come back and give the performance he did tonight."
Moyls's attitude in this game was reflected amongst his teammates. He carried a cool confidence right from the start, and Kamloops rallied behind it.
"We were pretty upset after (Monday) and we just tried to harness our energy coming back today," Moyls said. "We gave 'er today . . . we didn't want to go home early."
The Storm's defence played its best game of the series, clearing lanes and allowing Moyls to see shots. Big Ryan Skinner and Ian Chrystal kept the front of the net clear, while Mike Matthies and Zach Tjader helped make up for the absence of Daniel Buchanan, who was suspended for the game misconduct he was assessed late in Monday's loss.
"We did have the chances," said Knights head coach Kris Mallette, "but I don't think we were trying to get to those greasy areas or pay the price on that second shot."
Aaron Markin, who has been the Storm's best player in these playoffs, scored the goal, firing high over North Okanagan goaltender Dustin Nikkel only 3:14 into the game.
It was a back-and-forth contest after that, and both sides avoided the goofiness that turned Monday's loss into a sideshow. In that game, there were shouting matches between the coaches, a brouhaha in the stands, misconducts and a post-game incident that led to Storm assistant coach Todd Rasmussen being suspended for last night's game.
"From the drop of the puck, we seemed really focused," Priestlay said. "The biggest thing was just going out and having fun. Any time you're facing a three-game deficit, it's tough to get prepared. But we've got a lot of character in there, and it showed tonight."
JUST NOTES: If the Storm wins on Thursday, Game 6 will be at the Sport Centre on Friday, 7 p.m. . . . Each team had four power plays, with neither scoring with the man advantage. . . . The Knights scratched D Mac Ferner and D Nathan Browne. Mallette said both sat out for precautionary reasons.