Rivermen Rally Back But Fall Short to Grand Rapids 2012-01-28
A season-high 7,501 fans watched the Peoria Rivermen erase a two-goal deficit before they allowed the final two goals of the night in a 5-3 loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday night at Carver Arena. Rivermen all-star T.J. Hensick had a hand in all three goals (1g, 2a) while linemate Brett Sterling recorded his team-leading 17th goal of the season.
Gustav Nyquist and Fabian Brunnstrom each had three point nights for Grand Rapids while Joey MacDonald made 27 saves in the victory.
The Rivermen head into the all-star break with a record of 22-20-2-1, 42 points and eighth place in the Western Conference. Peoria will be represented on Monday at the AHL All-Star Classic by Hensick, Cade Fairchild and Ben Bishop.
Derek Nesbitt opened the scoring at 5:00 of the first period after he one-timed a pass from Hensick from just outside the crease. It was Nesbitt’s 15th goal of the season.
With 5:36 remaining, the Griffins tied the game with a goal from Garnet Exelby. Exelby fired a slap shot from just outside the slot over the glove of Jake Allenafter receiving a feed from Nyquist.
Grand Rapids added two goals 1:31 apart early in the second period to expand their lead to 3-1 lead. Fabian Brunnstrom beat Allen from a bad angle along the boards to give the Griffins their first lead of the night. Shortly after, Chris Minard scored his fourth goal of the year with a quick release from the slot.
At 9:40, Hensick scored his 16th of the season to make it a one-goal game. Fairchild froze MacDonald and made a backdoor pass to Hensick who put the puck into an open net.
Less than four minutes later Peoria tied the game on a Sterling deflection off a shot by Danny Syvret between the legs of MacDonald.
The Griffins regained their lead with a goal at the 4:52 mark of the third period. With the puck in the slot Nyquist made a pass to an open Brendan Smith who one-timed the puck into an open net to score his eighth of the year.
Nyquist scored an empty net goal with 18 seconds left to finish with three points.
The Rivermen play next travel to Milwaukee to face the Admirals on Friday at 7 p.m. All games can be heard on CD Country 107.9 FM or online through www.rivermen.net.