COLUMBUS EVENS SERIES WITH 6-1 WIN
The Columbus Cottonmouths scored four unanswered goals in the second period on Friday and defeated the Peoria Rivermen 6-1 in Game 2 of the first round of the President’s Cup Playoffs at the Columbus Civic Center. The loss evened the series 1-1 with a decisive Game 3 set for Sunday in Peoria.
Matt Gingera scored twice while Columbus went 2-for-3 on the power play in the contest. Peoria went 1-for-5 on the power play, with its only goal coming from Parker Stanfield early in the second period. A physical game from start to finish, Columbus finished the game with 37 penalty minutes, while Peoria drew 20.
The Cottonmouths opened the scoring at 10:22 of the first when Shayne Stockton netted Columbus’ first goal of the postseason on the power play. Following a high sticking minor to Adam Hartley, Stockton cleaned up a rebound on a shot from the right circle from Levi Lind for the 1-0 advantage.
Neilsson Arcibal made it 2-0 with another power play tally at 19:05 of the first. With Chris Greene in the box for slashing, Preston Shupe threw a shot at the Peoria net that was stopped by Kyle Rank, but Arcibal netted the second chance. Shupe and Andy Willigar earned the helpers.
Stanfield cut the deficit to one just 27 seconds into the second period on a power play caused by a hooking minor to Dan Bremner. From the left half-wall, Nick Prockow sent a pass to Stanfield down low, who walked in front and went top shelf from the doorstep to beat Andrew Loewen. Prockow and Adam Feniak notched the assists.
Just 13 seconds later, Jordan Draper made it 3-1 on an unassisted tally at the 40 second mark. At 6:49 of the second, Lind chased Rank from the net and extended the Cottonmouth’s lead to 4-1 on a shot from top of the right circle. Alex Gallant and Mike Switzer recorded the assists. Rank finished the game with 19 saves on 23 shots in 26:43 of playing time. He was replaced by rookie Kevin Carr.
Gingera scored the final two goals of the game at even strength in the second period. At 12:42, Gingera netted a rebound on a shot from Jordan Draper to make it 5-1. At 18:05, Gingera converted another second-chance opportunity against Carr, this time on a shot from Kyle Johnson.
Among the 57 combined penalty minutes, Gallant was assessed a five-minute checking from behind major and a game misconduct just 37 seconds into the third period for a hit against Prockow. In addition, Gallant and Kyle Watson were each assessed a five-minute fighting major on the ensuing scrum. Later, Switzer and Cole Ruwe dropped the gloves at 13:21 of the third. Ruwe and Gingera were also given two-minute minors for slashing, which ended Ruwe’s night.
Rivermen rookie center Garrett Vermeersch left the game in the first period and did not return after he was knocked into the boards awkwardly.
Columbus outshot Peoria 45-34. Between the pipes, Rank suffered the loss, while Carr stopped 20 of the 22 shots he faced in relief. For the Cottonmouths, Loewen earned the win with 33 saves.
The Rivermen and Cottonmouths conclude a best-of-three playoff series with Game 3 on Sunday at 5:15 p.m. CST at Carver Arena. Tickets start at just $8 and can be purchased through the Rivermen office at 309-676-1040. The game can be heard locally on CD Country 107.9 FM. Fans can also follow along via the live video and audio stream at www.americaonesports.com.