McKenna Stops 50 in Shootout Win
Opponent: @Charlotte Checkers
Date: December 20, 2012 6:00 PM
Score(Home/Away): 4-5** W
Even after the Charlotte Checkers erased Peoria's 4-0 third-period lead, Mike McKenna and the Rivermen came away with a 5-4 shootout win on Thursday night at Time Warner Cable Arena. McKenna saw a career-high 54 shots before stopping all four shootout attempts to backstop the Rivermen to their sixth straight win.
Peoria (13-11-2-2) has reached their longest winning streak since they won seven games from Oct. 10-23, 2010. The face the Checkers (17-9-0-3) again on Friday in their final game before the Christmas break.
The Rivermen penalty kill stole the show through the first two periods as they erased six Charlotte power plays. After three kills in the first period, Peoria was whistled for three minors in a span of 1:33. Those penalties led to 2 minutes of 5-on-3 time and 3:28 of consecutive power pay time overall that the Rivermen were able to kill off. Peoria has now killed 19 consecutive penalties of the course of the last four games.
T.J Hensick helped build Peoria's lead just 33 seconds into the first period . After Brent Regner lifted the puck to Hensick behind the defense, Hensick snapped one past the glove of Dan Ellis from the right circle to give Peoria the 1-0 advantage.
It wasn't until late in the second period that the Rivermen earned their first - and only - power play of the game. At 18:19, Mark Cundari scored fired a shot from the high-slot off the left post for his second of the season. Regner and Hensick earned assists while Adam Cracknell provided the screen on Ellis.
Chris Bruton and Andrew Murray added goals in the first 3:01 of the third to stake the Rivermen a 4-0 lead. Bruton's second of the year came at 1:19 while Murray buried a breakaway at 3:01 from Jaden Schwartz and Phil McRae. Following Murray's goal, Ellis was removed from the game after allowing four goals on 20 shots in 43:01 of work. Justin Peters came in and stopped all eight shots he faced.
After McKenna had stopped the first 42 shots of the game, Bobby Sanguinetti started the Checkers comeback with only 8:13 remaining in regulation. He scored again at 13:45 with the two teams playing four-aside. The Checkers pulled within a goal at 18:25 on Riley Nash's fourth of the season. Zach Boychk potted the game-tying goal with just 4.8 seconds remaining in regulation with harlotte tied up the game with only 4.8 seconds left in the game and Peters on the bench.
Following overtime, McKenna stopped all four shooters while Phil McRae and Jaden Schwartz converted to give Peoria their first win of the season against Charlotte.
McKenna's 50 saves matched his career high that he set on Feb. 25 when he stopped 50 of 51 for Binghamton in a 2-1 shootout loss to Adirondack. He has now won four straight starts and has raised his save percentage to 0.923%.
The Rivermen finish off their pre-Christmas schedule on Friday in Charlotte at 6:05 p.m. All games can be heard on CD Country 107.9 FM or online through www.rivermen.net.