Houston Comes from Behind to Grab 3-0 Series Lead
The Houston Aeros came from behind and scored
four unanswered goals, for the second time in the series, to win 5-3 and take 3-0
lead over the Peoria Rivermen in the West Division Semifinal. Akim Aliu scored
19 seconds into the game for the Rivermen and T.J. Hensick scored twice, but the
Aeros held Peoria to just 15 shots on goal in the game.
Game 4 will be played at Carver Arena on
Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. and if Peoria can force Game 5 it will be on
Akim Aliu, in his first game of the series, collected
a rebound in the slot off Derek Nesbitt’s shot from the point and backhanded it
by the blocker of Matt Hackett to open the scoring just 19 seconds into the
At the 9:49 mark, Hensick gave the Rivermen a
two-goal cushion with his first goal of the playoffs as well. Dave Spina backhanded
a shot on net and the rebound came to Hensick in the slot where he was able to
slide the puck along the ice just past the left skate of Hackett.
Houston responded 48 seconds into the second
period with Jake Gannon still in the box from his penalty late in the first
period. Chad Rau’s shot was stopped by Allen but the rebound squirted to Casey
Wellman right in front of the crease and he lifted it up over Allen for his
first of the playoffs. Maxim Noreau added an assist on the goal as well.
Hensick answered with a power-play goal of his
own at the 3:41 mark of the second period. Hensick walked in from the top of
the left circle and placed a perfect wrist shot by the short side of Hackett to
give the Rivermen their second two-goal lead of the game. Hensick’s goal was Peoria’s
only shot on goal in the second period.
Houston captain – and former Rivermen - Jon
DiSalvatore cut the Rivermen lead in half once again on his first of playoffs
from Patrick O’Sullivan at the 9:43 mark of the second. While crossing the
Rivermen blueline, DiSalvatore wound up for a slap shot and blasted the puck
off the right post and in.
Houston came out firing early in the third
period as well and tied the game, 3-3, just 1:12 into the final frame. Wellman
dropped off a pass to a wide-open Rau in the slot and he wristed a shot over
the glove of Allen for his second of the playoffs. Jeff Penner added the second
assist on the goal.
Colton Gillies picked up a loose puck to the
right of Allen’s crease and backhanded it into the empty net at 11:53 to give
the Aeros their first lead of the game. Roughly th3ree minutes later Gillies
tapped in a loose puck in the crease for his first two-goal game of the season.
The Rivermen were outshot 30-15 in the game
and have been outshot in each game of the series. The Aeros scored once in on
six power plays while the Rivermen finished 1-for-2 on the man advantage.
between the Rivermen and Aeros is set for Tuesday night at 7:05 again from
Carver Arena in Peoria. Tickets
are on sale online through www.rivermen.net,
over the phone at 309-676-1040, and at the Peoria Civic Center box office.