Gannon's Late Goal Shoots Rivermen Over Stars
The Peoria Rivermen
took a big step towards the playoffs with a dramatic 3-2 win over the Texas
Stars on Wednesday night at Carver Arena.
After trailing 2-1 at the start of the third period, Nathan Oystrick tied
the game and Jake Gannon scored the game-winner with only 1:55 left in
The win pushed
Peoria (41-29-3-5, 90 pts) into a third-place tie with the Texas Stars
(40-27-4-6, 90 pts) moving into the final weekend of the season. They have a three point lead on the Oklahoma
City Barons and a four point lead on the Chicago Wolves – who they play on
first midway through the first period with Nick Drazenovic’s 21st
goal of the season. At 12:31, TJ Hensick found Derek Nesbitt at the top of the
left circle whose shot was blocked but rolled to Drazenovic as he cut across
the top of the crease. Drazenovic then
delayed a backhand shot before he flipped the puck past Texas goaltender
the game late in the first period with a power-play goal from Phillip Larsen at
the 17:59 mark. Following a hooking penalty against Jay Barriball, the Stars’ Aaron
Gagnon sent a crisp past from the top of the left circle to the low slot where
Larsen was positioned. Larsen then redirected the puck past Rivermen netminder
Jake Allen for the equalizer.
The Stars’ took
their first lead of the game at 6:13 of the second period. Just as a Rivermen
penalty expired, Texas defenseman Jordie Benn ripped a shot on goal from the
left point. The shot snuck past several skaters until it was tipped in front of
the net by Francis Wathier and slid between Allen’s pads. Wathier was credited
for his 19th goal of the season while Benn and Maxime Fortunus
notched the assists.
At the 9:54
mark of the third, Oystrick evened the game once again with his 14th
of the season. From his back foot, Oystrick wristed a shot through a screen set
by Akim Aliu and into the Stars’ net. Aliu and Adam Cracknell picked up the
snuck over the shoulder of an unsuspecting Bachman at 18:05. As the puck came to him along the right-wing
boards, his wrist shot sailed into the net for just his second goal of the
season. Nesbitt earned his second assist
of the game on the play.
It was the
fifth time this year that the Rivermen have won when trailing after two periods
and the first time all season that the Stars dropped a regulation game when
holding a lead at the start of the third.
with 20 saves and earned his 24th win of the season – the most of
any Rivermen goaltender in the AHL era.
Bachman stopped 28 of 31.
The Rivermen host the Chicago
Wolves with a chance to clinch a playoff spot on Friday at 7:05 p.m. The first 2,500 fans in attendance will
receive a commemorative canvas celebrating the 2000 Kelly Cup Championship
team. Tickets can be purchased by
calling the Rivermen office at 309-676-1040 or online through www.rivermen.net.