Game Recaps

Peluso's Pair Leads Rivermen to 5-2 Win Over Griffins


Derek Nesbitt tries to keep Tomas Tatar from putting the puck in front of the net.  (photo: Mark Newman)

The Peoria Rivermen pulled away from the Grand Rapids Griffins with a three-goal third period to beat the Grand Rapids Griffins 5-2 on Friday night at Van Andel Arena.  The win extended their AHL-long point streak to 11 games (9-0-2) and put them within two points of the first-place San Antonio Rampage.




Anthony Peluso led the way with first two-goal game of his professional career.  He was one of four different Rivermen to register a multi-point game as TJ Hensick (1g, 1a), Nick Drazenovic (2a), and Dean Arsene (1g, 1a) all doubled up on the scoresheet. Jake Allen made 26 saves to improve to 10-1-1 on the season. 


Grand Rapids took an early lead thanks to Francis Pare’s first of two just 8:50 into the first period.  He snapped a quick shot over the glove of Allen from the bottom of the right circle.  The early lead lasted throughout the first period as the Rivermen were outshot 10-7 in the opening frame.   


Peluso tied the game at 1-1 just 1:36 into the second.  Peluso put a puck on net, which generated a rebound away from Thomas McCullom.  Adam Cracknell grabbed the puck away from the diving goaltender and pushed it into the crease for Peluso.


Hensick gave the Rivermen a 2-1 lead with 4:01 left in the second period after firing a wrist shot off the post and past McCollum’s glove while on the power-play.  Drazenovic and Graham Mink kept the puck alive long enough to let Hensick walk out of the corner and beat McCullom. 


The Rivermen took a two-goal lead at 9:32 into the third period when Derek Nesbitt cleared the blue line and threw a shot on net through traffic that ultimately beat McCollum’s blocker.  Arsene and Hensick added assists on the play. 


After a second Pare goal brought the Griffins within one, Peluso scored his second goal of the game at 15:34.  Dave Spina slid the pass to Peluso in the high-slot and his wrist shot worked his way between McCullom’s legs. 


Rivermen captain Dean Arsene added his first goal of the season on a wrist shot from the blue line with just 3:00 left in regulation.  Phil McRae and Drazenovic added assists on the tally.   It capped the first two-point night for Arsene since Jan. 21, 2009 when he was a member of the Hershey Bears. 


Peoria scored all five goals on just 23 shots and three goals on five shots in the third period. 


The Rivermen improved to 3-0-0 against Grand Rapids this season and the two teams will meet again on Saturday at Carver Arena. 


Saturday’s game will start a three-game homestand over a four-day stretch and Noah Munck, who plays Gibby on the popular Nickelodeon show, iCarly, will be signing autographs and taking pictures with fans beginning at 6:30 p.m.  For more information or to purchase tickets call the Rivermen office at 309-676-1040 or visit