Rivermen Down Aeros in Shootout
T.J. Hensick scored Peoria’s first goal, setup
the second and buried his shootout attempt as the Peoria Rivermen edged the Houston
Aeros 3-2 on Sunday at the Toyota Center.
Phil McRae scored the game winner in the sixth round as Ben Bishop made
29 saves through regulation and four more in the shootout.
It was the first time these two met since
Houston beat Peoria April 19, in Peoria, a game in which the Aeros advanced
past the Rivermen in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Hensick opened the scoring just 19 seconds into
Peoria’s first power play of the game. Hensick’s backhand from Brett Sterling
and Danny Syvret at the 6:39 mark of the first was his ninth goal of the year
and his 32nd point.
Less than two minutes later Houston’s Matt
Kassian notched his first of the year from Mike McKenzie to even the score at 1-1.
The Aeros took their first lead of the game
with 6:45 remaining in the middle frame. Warren Peters broke up ice with
McKenzie, and fired a shot through the legs of Bishop for his seventh of the
Evgeny Grachev found the back of the net late
in the second frame while on the man advantage, but his first goal in a
Rivermen sweater was waived off due to incidental contact with Aeros goalkeeper
Darcy Kuemper. Derek Nesbitt’s shot off
of a Hensick faceoff win at the 5:02 mark of the final frame officially tied
the game at two.
The Rivermen had a multiple chances in the
overtime, but Kuemper stopped the only four shots of the extra period to push
the game into a shootout.
After five rounds and goals from Nesbitt and
Hensick for Peoria and Justin Fontaine and Jeff Taffe for Houston, McRae lifted
a backhand into the roof of the net to give the Rivermen the advantage. Bishop stoned Chad Rau to finish off his 11th
victory of the season.
Peoria improved to 3-1 in shootouts this season
while the Aeros dropped to 0-6.
The Rivermen take on division-rival Rockford
for the eighth time this season on Friday at 7:05 p.m. The game can be heard in
Peoria on CD Country 107.9 or by visiting www.rivermen.net.