THUNDER SCORE EARLY IN OT TO TOP PEORIA 5-4
Dennis Sievers/Peoria Rivermen
Bloomington Thunder forward Tyler Noseworthy scored just 51 seconds into overtime on Friday, helping the visitors to a 5-4 win against the Peoria Rivermen in the first of two exhibition games.
Rivermen winger Branden Parkhouse (pictured) and Thunder forward Daniel Barzuck each scored a pair of goals in the pre-season opener at Carver Arena, while Peoria goaltender Kevin McFarland allowed three goals and suffered the loss.
Despite committing three penalties in the first 10 minutes of the game, including a pair that led to a 5-on-3, the Thunder struck first at 12:35 of the opening frame. A turnover in the Rivermen zone led to a breakaway by Bloomington’s Alex Morton, in which he deked starting goaltender Russ Stein and found the back of the net.
Peoria dominated the shots on goal 17-9, but failed to capitalize on all three power play chances in the first period.
Bloomington took advantage of an early power play in the second period to double its lead 2-0. After a hooking minor to Peoria’s Olivier Schenk, Barczuk pulled the trigger on a one-timer and found an open goal at the 5:39 mark.
With just over eight minutes to go in the middle frame, Stein was replaced in goal by McFarland. Stein finished with 23 saves on 24 shots.
Peoria got on the board for the first time at 11:24 of the second on a Steve Morra goal. Center Garrett Vermeersch made a nifty backhand across the crease setting up Morra for an easy one-time goal past Bloomington starter BJ O’Brien.
The Rivermen tied the contest less than two minutes later courtesy of Parkhouse. At the 12:41 mark, the Rivermen winger found a loose puck at the left side of the net and buried it past Thunder backup goaltender Dustin Carlson to even the game at 2-2.
After Peoria killed a 5-on-3 power play early in the third period, Parkhouse netted his second goal of the game giving Peoria a 3-2 lead. However, it was short-lived, as Barczuk scored for the second time on a shorthanded breakaway. Barczuk’s move was nearly identical to Morton’s deke in the first, this time beating McFarland.
The Rivermen took their second lead of the night at 13:39 of the third. Defenseman Charlie Carkin unleased a rocket from the left point to beat Carlson and give Peoria a 4-3 advantage.
The back-and-forth game shifted yet again at 18:10 of the third when Bloomington equalized the game at 4-4. Lacasse took a shot from the right circle that was stopped by McFarland, but the Rivermen goaltender couldn’t control the rebound. It popped right to Eddie Olczyk, who found an empty net.
The 4-4 deadlock carried into overtime, where Noseworthy played hero for the visitors by finding the 5-hole on McFarland just 51 seconds in. Barczuk got an assist to accompany his two goals by passing to Noseworthy on a 2-on-1.
Carlson stopped 23 of 26 shots in the victory for the Thunder, while McFarland stopped 16 of 19 shots for the loss. Bloomington’s O’Brien also made 23 saves.
Friday’s game included four bouts and a total of 60 minutes in penalties.
Peoria went 0-for-4 on the power play, while the Thunder were 1-for-6 with the man advantage.
The Rivermen travel to Bloomington Saturday night to cap off the preseason, before starting the regular season in Bloomington on Friday, October 25. Tomorrow’s final exhibition game is at 7:15 p.m.