THUNDER STEAL SECOND STRAIGHT FROM PEORIA
Dennis Sievers/Peoria Rivermen
The Peoria Rivermen and Bloomington Thunder were neck-in-neck through two periods on Sunday, but Travis Granbois notched the game-winner early in the third to push Bloomington to a 4-2 victory at Carver Arena. Despite the loss, the Rivermen held Bloomington to just 13 shots over the first 50 minutes of the game, but went 2-for-9 on the power play and hit the post multiple times throughout the afternoon.
Overall, Peoria falls to 15-13-3 on the season (33 points) and remains fifth in the SPHL standings. In addition, the Rivermen have dropped five of their last eight games against their central Illinois rivals after taking the first six matchups this season.
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS – BOX SCORE
The first period went scoreless and was highlighted by missed opportunities by both teams. Bloomington had possession for a good portion of the frame and created a few breakaway chances, but were ultimately held to only five shots on goal by the Rivermen defense. Peoria had 13 shots on goal, most of which came in the final two minutes with the Rivermen on a power play. However, even with a 5-on-3 advantage for the last 29 seconds, Peoria failed to get on the board in the opening frame.
In the second, the Rivermen struck first on a power play goal from Taylor Larsen at 6:57. Following a roughing minor to Eddie Olczyk, Larsen gained control of the puck and skated in on a 3-on-2 break. From the left side, Larsen shook the defenseman and cut to the middle before he fired a shot directly through the five-hole of Bloomington netminder Breton Lindoff. Tyler Amburgey was credited with the assist.
The Thunder responded at 13:04 when Dennis Sicard scored shorthanded to even the game at 1-1. After Kyle Watson was called for roughing, Curtis Megginson grabbed possession and pulled ahead for a breakaway but was stopped by Tyler Amburgey. From the ground, Amburgey then desperately tried to send the puck back down the ice, but instead fired it right at Sicard, who ripped a slap shot from between the circles and into the net.
25 seconds later, Peoria regained the lead while still on the power play courtesy of Matt Viola at 13:29. From the right side, Larsen turned and guided a pass to the low slot where Viola gained possession and one-timed a shot top-shelf for his fifth goal of the year. Larsen and Charlie Carkin earned the assists.
At 17:20, Ron Cramer evened the game yet again on the first even-strength goal of the contest. Jason Pietrasiak roped the puck behind the net, skated to his left and found Cramer in the right circle, who slid a shot from a tough angle past Kyle Rank’s pads for his fifth of the season. Pietrasiak and Paul DAgostino were credited with the assists.
Bloomington took its first lead of the game when Granbois notched his sixth of the year just 1:01 into the third. From behind the Peoria net, Granbois found the puck and stuffed it home on a wraparound inside the right post to make it 3-2. Pietrasiak notched the only assist.
With just 71 seconds left, Rank was pulled for an extra attacker, but shortly after he headed to the bench, Olczyk grabbed the puck in the neutral zone and placed it into the empty net from the blue line for a 4-2 final.
Lindoff (1-0-0) made 30 saves in his season debut to earn the win for Bloomington. Meanwhile, Rank (8-5-0) suffered the loss after he made 18 saves on 22 shots.
Overall, Peoria outshot Bloomington 32-22 and went 1-for-1 on the penalty kill. The loss was just Peoria’s second when leading at two separate points during a game. The Rivermen are now 9-5-0 this season against the Thunder.
Peoria battles the Knoxville Ice Bears for the first time this season next Friday with a 7:15 p.m. puck drop at Carver Arena. Friday is “Carload Night,” as fans are encouraged to load up the crew and bring everyone to the game for just $40! However, fans must park in the Civic Center’s Marquee Lot or Fulton Lot for the deal. 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.