Mink's Career Game Lifts Rivermen Over Rockford
Graham Mink and
the Peoria Rivermen offense exploded on Monday afternoon in a 6-3 win over the Rockford
IceHogs at the Rockford MetroCentre. Mink
recorded his first four-goal game since March 16, 2002 when he was a member of the Portland Pirates. He became the second Rivermen to record
a hat trick this season.
The win snapped
Peoria’s three-game losing skid and improved their record to 6-2-0-0 against
the IceHogs this season. Peoria (32-21-2-3, 69 pts) jumped San Antonio in the
West Division standings and advanced to fourth place, two points behind
division leaders Milwaukee and Houston.
After scoring a
combined three goals in the last three games, the Rivermen opened up the
floodgates by scoring four goals in the first 19 minutes against Rockford
goaltender Alec Richards. The first of those came at the 3:48 mark when Graham
Mink buried his sixth power-play goal of the season. Only 7 seconds after Brian
Connelly was called for delay of game, T.J. Hensick won a face-off on the left
dot and got it to Mink who gave Peoria a 1-0 lead. Hensick and Adam Cracknell
notched the helpers.
made it 2-0 less than 4 minutes later when Mink scored again at 7:44. Ian Cole, celebrating his 22nd
birthday, found Mink on the right circle who put a wrist shot over the right
shoulder of Richards.
Taffe cut the lead in half at the 14:09 mark of the first period. Taffe brought
the puck into the Rivermen defensive zone with a 2-on-1, but didn’t use the
help. Instead, he wristed a shot towards the upper part of the net as Jake
Allen went down, resulting in a 2-1 score. Ryan Potulny picked up the only
assist on the goal.
answered right back at 15:09 with his 16th
goal of the year. During a delayed penalty call, Dave Spina put a slap shot on
goal. Richards could not hold onto the puck and gave a rebound opportunity up
to Drazenovic who made the most of it just outside the crease.
provided the fourth and final tally of the first period at the 18:39 mark with
his team-leading 17th of the season. The veteran displayed his speed
by skating past the blue line through the slot and towards the right side of
the net. Hensick then beat Richards near side. Mark Cundari and Nathan Oystrick
were credited with the assists.
At the 8:02
mark of the second, while on the power play, Cole took a slapshot from the blue
line that was tipped in the crease by Mink for his third goal of the game. It
was Mink’s first hat trick since Oct. 8, 2008 with Hershey. Cole and Cundari
each picked up their second assists of the game as well.
selection Brian Connelly gave the IceHogs their second goal of the game at 1:25
of the third period. Shawn Lalonde fed Connelly a crisp pass along the blueline
who turned and took a slap shot through traffic, past Allen, and into the back
of the net. Lalonde and Brandon Pirri got the helpers.
A mistake at
the blueline gave Rockford’s Peter LaBlanc a breakaway opportunity halfway
through the final frame. LaBlanc came through with the chance, sliding the puck
just past Allen’s left toe as he moved to his right. The goal made it 5-3 at
the 10:19 mark.
The final tally
of the game came less than 4 minutes later from whom other than Mink. At 14:09
of the third period following a Garnet Excelby roughing minor, Hensick
controlled the puck in the left corner behind Rockford’s goal. He then fed a
pass into the crease that was knocked in by Mink before Richards could glove
four-goal game is tied with Derek Nesbitt (Jan. 5, 2011), Derek Armstrong (Jan.
30, 2010), and Jean-Guy Trudel (Dec. 28, 2007) for the most goals in a single
game since the Rivermen joined the AHL.
with 28 saves on 31 shots in picking up the victory. He is now 4-0-0-0 against
the IceHogs. Richards ended the game saving 32 of 38 Rivermen shots.
ended the contest 3-for-5 on the power play while the Rivermen penalty kill
went a perfect 4-for-4.