Griffins Hand Rivermen Third Straight Loss, 4-2
After defeating Grand Rapids in the first five meetings this season, the Peoria Rivermen dropped their second straight game to the Griffins 4-2 at Van Andel Arena. Nicholas Drazenovic cashed in on both of Peoria’s goals by scoring once and assisting on the other. The Rivermen (31-21-2-3) are now 3-5-0-2 in their last 10 games.
The Rivermen got the scoring started just 39 seconds into the contest. Grand Rapids' goaltender Jordan Pearce stopped Dean Arsene’s slap-shot from the point, but left a rebound for Nicholas Drazenovic who backhanded in his 15th of the year from the doorstep. Tyler Shattock also picked up an assist on the goal.
The Griffins responded on the power play at the 9:57 mark on Jamie Tardif’s 20th of the year to tied the game at 1-1. Tomas Tatar sent a pass through the slot to Tardif at the bottom of the left circle and Tardiff one-timed a shot past Jake Allen. Ilari Filppula earned the second assist on the goal.
The Rivermen regained the lead at 16:16 of the first period on a power-play goal of their own from Ian Cole, his second of the year. Graham Mink and Drazenovic were moving the puck down low on the man advantage, then fed Cole at the point and his slap-shot went through traffic and beat Pearce.
Tardif opened the scoring in the second at the 6:57 mark with his second of the game and 21st of the year from Filppula and Tatar once again. Tardif came from behind the net and wrapped the puck in before Jake Allen could get his right pad to the post.
The Griffins took the lead for the first time at 11:14 of the second period on Brendan Smith’s ninth of the year from Cory Emmerton and Jan Mursak. Mursak made a pass to Emmerton behind the net and Emmerton’s shot was stopped point blank by Allen. The rebound went directly to Smith who came in from the point and buried a shot into the back of the net.
Chris Minard added the final tally for the Griffins on his 11th of the year at 10:41. Allen got most of Mursak’s slap-shot with his right arm, but the puck trickled behind the Peoria goaltender and was tapped into the net by Minard. Doug Janik picked up the second assist on the goal.
Allen finished with 33 saves on 37 shots in recording the loss. Pearce saved 36 of 38 shots in picking up the win. Peoria ended the contest 1-for-5 on the power play while Grand Rapids was 1-for-6.
The Rivermen are now tied with the Oklahoma City Barons in fifth place with 67 points in the Western Division.