McKenna Stops 50 in Shootout Win
Even after the Charlotte Checkers erased
Peoria's 4-0 third-period lead, Mike McKenna and the Rivermen came away with a
5-4 shootout win on Thursday night at Time Warner Cable Arena. McKenna saw a
career-high 54 shots before stopping all four shootout attempts to backstop the
Rivermen to their sixth straight win.
Peoria (13-11-2-2) has reached their longest
winning streak since they won seven games from Oct. 10-23, 2010. The face the
Checkers (17-9-0-3) again on Friday in their final game before the Christmas break.
The Rivermen penalty kill stole the show
through the first two periods as they erased six Charlotte power plays. After three kills in the first period, Peoria
was whistled for three minors in a span of 1:33. Those penalties led to 2
minutes of 5-on-3 time and 3:28 of consecutive power pay time overall that the
Rivermen were able to kill off. Peoria
has now killed 19 consecutive penalties of the course of the last four
T.J Hensick helped build Peoria's lead just 33
seconds into the first period . After Brent Regner lifted the puck to Hensick
behind the defense, Hensick snapped one past the glove of Dan Ellis from the
right circle to give Peoria the 1-0 advantage.
It wasn't until late in the second period that
the Rivermen earned their first - and
only - power play of the game. At 18:19, Mark Cundari scored fired a shot from
the high-slot off the left post for his second of the season. Regner and
Hensick earned assists while Adam Cracknell provided the screen on Ellis.
Chris Bruton and Andrew Murray added goals in
the first 3:01 of the third to stake the Rivermen a 4-0 lead. Bruton's second
of the year came at 1:19 while Murray buried a breakaway at 3:01 from Jaden
Schwartz and Phil McRae. Following Murray's goal, Ellis was removed from the
game after allowing four goals on 20 shots in 43:01 of work. Justin Peters came
in and stopped all eight shots he faced.
After McKenna had stopped the first 42 shots of
the game, Bobby Sanguinetti started the Checkers comeback with only 8:13
remaining in regulation. He scored again at 13:45 with the two teams playing
four-aside. The Checkers pulled within a goal at 18:25 on Riley Nash's fourth
of the season. Zach Boychk potted the game-tying goal with just 4.8 seconds
remaining in regulation with harlotte
tied up the game with only 4.8 seconds left in the game and Peters on the
Following overtime, McKenna stopped all four
shooters while Phil McRae and Jaden Schwartz converted to give Peoria their
first win of the season against Charlotte.
McKenna's 50 saves matched his career high that
he set on Feb. 25 when he stopped 50 of 51 for Binghamton in a 2-1 shootout
loss to Adirondack. He has now won four straight starts and has raised his save
percentage to 0.923%.
The Rivermen finish off their pre-Christmas
schedule on Friday in Charlotte at 6:05 p.m. All games can be heard on CD
Country 107.9 FM or online through www.rivermen.net.