Rivermen Down Aeros in Shootout
Opponent: @Houston Aeros
Date: December 11, 2011 5:05 p.m.
Score(Home/Away): 2-3** W
T.J. Hensick scored Peoria’s first goal, setup the second and buried his shootout attempt as the Peoria Rivermen edged the Houston Aeros 3-2 on Sunday at the Toyota Center. Phil McRae scored the game winner in the sixth round as Ben Bishop made 29 saves through regulation and four more in the shootout.
It was the first time these two met since Houston beat Peoria April 19, in Peoria, a game in which the Aeros advanced past the Rivermen in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Hensick opened the scoring just 19 seconds into Peoria’s first power play of the game. Hensick’s backhand from Brett Sterling and Danny Syvret at the 6:39 mark of the first was his ninth goal of the year and his 32nd point.
Less than two minutes later Houston’s Matt Kassian notched his first of the year from Mike McKenzie to even the score at 1-1.
The Aeros took their first lead of the game with 6:45 remaining in the middle frame. Warren Peters broke up ice with McKenzie, and fired a shot through the legs of Bishop for his seventh of the year.
Evgeny Grachev found the back of the net late in the second frame while on the man advantage, but his first goal in a Rivermen sweater was waived off due to incidental contact with Aeros goalkeeper Darcy Kuemper. Derek Nesbitt’s shot off of a Hensick faceoff win at the 5:02 mark of the final frame officially tied the game at two.
The Rivermen had a multiple chances in the overtime, but Kuemper stopped the only four shots of the extra period to push the game into a shootout.
After five rounds and goals from Nesbitt and Hensick for Peoria and Justin Fontaine and Jeff Taffe for Houston, McRae lifted a backhand into the roof of the net to give the Rivermen the advantage. Bishop stoned Chad Rau to finish off his 11th victory of the season.
Peoria improved to 3-1 in shootouts this season while the Aeros dropped to 0-6.
The Rivermen take on division-rival Rockford for the eighth time this season on Friday at 7:05 p.m. The game can be heard in Peoria on CD Country 107.9 or by visiting www.rivermen.net.