Rivermen Grab a Point in Charlotte
Zach Boychuk scored on a breakaway just 1:15 into overtime and the Charlotte Checkers beat the Peoria Rivermen 5-4 Thursday night in a back-and-forth game at Time Warner Cable Arena. Peoria had a season-high 38 shots and T.J. Hensick added three assists but Peoria fell to Charlotte for the third time this season.
Peoria snapped a lengthy scoreless streak against Charlotte when Anthony Nigro netted his first goal of the season only 2:48 into the game. Cade Fairchild and Anthony Peluso were credited with assists. The lead didn't last long as Boychuk scored a goal for the Checkers only 51 seconds later and Jake Allen was forced to make 19 saves alone in the first period.
At 4:49 of the second period Cody Beach – in his AHL debut – was assessed a match penalty that led to a Checkers’ power-play goal. Charlotte broke the tie with Zac Dalpe’s goal at 8:47. Then at 15:11 , Anthony Peluso scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season, setup by Hensick, to tie the game at 2-2.
Just 1:19 later, the Rivermen snapped a lengthy power-play drought when Ian Cole scored his first goal of the season and gave Peoria a 3-2 lead. Mark Cundari fed Cole the puck at the top of the right circle and he ripped a wrist shot between the legs of Justin Peters.
In the third period, Charlotte evened the game just 4:41 in with Jeremy Welsh’s third goal of the year. From the left wall, the Checkers’ center turned and threw a shot towards the net that slid under Allen’s right pad and in.
At the 11:04 mark, Charlotte took its second lead of the game with Drayson Bowman’s league-leading 10th of the year. During a delayed penalty, Michal Jordan ripped a wrist shot from the right side that bounced off Allen’s pads to Sutter who finished the loose puck for a 4-3 score.
The Rivermen responded once again and evened the game late on Brett Sonne’s first of the year. At the 15:02 mark, Nesbitt skated in from the right side and wristed a shot from a tough angle that deflected off Sonne’s stick and found an opening on the near post.
But just over a minute into overtime, Boychuk and the Checkers earned the game-winning goal following a Rivermen turnover near the red lineBoychuk grabbed a loose puck and finished a breakaway past Allen’s left pad for his second of the game and eighth of the year.
The Checkers outshot Peoria 41-38 and Peters’ made 34 saves for the win. The Rivermen went 1-for-5 on the power play and 5-for-6 on the penalty kill.
The Rivermen will face Charlotte again Friday night 6:00 p.m. All games can be heard on CD Country 107.9 FM or online through www.rivermen.net.