Rivermen Set to Begin Another Three In Three
December 29, 2011
Last 10: Peoria 4-5-1-0; Grand Rapids 4-2-2-2
Season series: Tonight marks the first of four meetings this season between the Rivermen and Griffins. Peoria won five of eight contests against Grand Rapids last season including three of four at Van Andel Arena. The Rivermen are 19-12-1-0 against the Griffins since joining the AHL in 2005-06.
Big story: If the season ended today, both of these teams would miss the playoffs, but by a slim margin. With over 40 games remaining for both teams, there is plenty of time to recover, but neither team has much room for error as they both rank fourth in their respective divisions. Peoria currently is three points behind Chicago for the final playoff spot while Grand Rapids trails by five points.
Rivermen: After enduring their longest break of the season with eight consecutive days off, the Rivermen returned to action on Monday against the Chicago Wolves. Peoria overcame a 3-1 deficit with two third period goals but allowed a Jordan Schroeder tally with just 47 seconds remaining in overtime in a 4-3 loss.
Phil McRae, Derek Nesbitt and Tyler Shattock each scored for Peoria while Ben Bishop stopped 24 of 28 shots on goal. Monday’s loss marked the first time this season
Peoria has gone without a power play. Chicago finished the game 1-for-3 on the man
Peoria will look to end
a three game losing streak against Grand Rapids but is still without five
players due to concussion.
Griffins: Although Grand Rapids has played well in regulation this season, it’s the extra time that has tarnished its record. In their last eleven games, the Griffins have gone to overtime seven times and lost four of those games.
Two of their three overtime losses this season have come in back-to-back games against Abbotsford and Lake Erie. In both games, the Griffins allowed a goal within the first minute of overtime.
However, Grand Rapids received a late Christmas present on Wednesday when they received 23-year-old forward Jan Mursak on a conditioning loan from the Detroit Red Wings. Mursak broke his ankle on Sept. 25 in a preseason game against the Chicago Blackhawks and has yet to play since.
Who's hot: Nesbitt has scored at least one point in five straight games for the Rivermen including three goals and three assists. He currently has 23 points (11g, 12a) this season.
Grand Rapids center Brent Raedeke has tallied three goals and an assist over the past two games. He now has nine points (5g, 4a) on the season.