TWO-GOAL COMEBACK ENDS IN OVERTIME VICTORY
The Peoria Rivermen fought back from a two-goal deficit to force overtime on Friday, where Nick Prockow scored the game-winner just 1:34 in to beat the Mississippi Surge, 3-2 at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. Matt Viola netted the game-tying goal with just 22 seconds left in regulation, while goaltender Kyle Rank (7-2-0) notched his second win in as many games.
With the victory, the Rivermen improve to 12-10-3 on the season and remain in fifth place in the SPHL standings. Peoria also takes the inaugural meeting between the two teams and now leads the season-long, seven-game series 1-0.
For the full box score, click here.
Following a 35-save shutout at home on Wednesday, Rank allowed his first goal in nearly 112 minutes when Kyle Fletcher tipped in a shot from the bottom of the slot at 17:45 of the first. Jarkko Leppanen, who took the initial drive from the right point, and Casey Mignone collected the helpers.
The Surge entered the night with the best power-play attack in the league (21.3%), and it showed when Mississippi capitalized on a Dean Yakura holding minor at 14:40 of the third. Following a pass to the right point from Mike Lysyj, Mark Thorburn fired a shot past traffic and into the back of the net at 16:24 for a 2-0 lead.
Peoria responded for the first time at 14:38 of the third when captain Jarrett Rush scored for the first time this year. With speed, Steve Morra cut towards the net and left a centering feed for Justin Gvora in the slot. However, Gvora only got a small piece of it before the puck bounced to Rush at the top of the left circle who beat Surge goaltender Dan Clarke to cut the deficit to one. Morra and Gvora notched the assists.
With just 1:45 left in regulation, the Rivermen called a timeout and pulled Rank for the extra attacker, which paid off as Viola evened the game at 19:38. From the left side of the goal, Gvora played the puck to the slot where Viola collected it, spun and wristed a shot into the back of the net. Gvora and Tyler Amburgey produced the assists.
In overtime, Surge defenseman Dean Moore was called for holding just 49 seconds in, which led to Peoria’s fourth power play of the game. At 1:34, Jeremiah Ketts grabbed the puck down low from the right side and fed it across to Prockow at the back door, for his league-leading eighth power play goal of the season. Ketts and Schiller recorded the helpers.
Peoria finished the game 1-for-4 on the power play, while Mississippi went 1-for-1. In addition, the Surge outshot the Rivermen 35-22. Clarke (4-7-0) suffered the loss for Mississippi after making 19 saves on 22 shots. Rank stopped 33 of 35 shots in the win.
Friday’s game was the first time this season Mississippi has lost when leading after two periods (10-1-0).
**NOTE**: Assistant coach Kevin Tucker filled in as Peoria’s head coach for the night, as Jean-Guy Trudel stayed at the team’s hotel with a stomach virus.
The Rivermen continue a three-game road trip on Saturday with a rematch against the Mississippi Surge at 7:05 p.m. in Biloxi. The game can be heard locally on CD Country 107.9 FM or online at www.cd1079.net. Fans can also follow along via the live video and audio stream at www.americaonesports.com.