Mink and Spina Double Up Against Barons
Opponent: @Oklahoma City Barons
Date: January 7, 2011 7:05
Score(Home/Away): 2-5 W
Dave Spina scored just 5:35 into the first period and the Peoria Rivermen never looked back in a 5-2 win over the Oklahoma City Barons on Friday night at the Cox Convention Center. Spina and Graham Mink both registered two-goal nights and Jake Allen earned his, and the team’s, fourth straight win in their first-ever trip to Oklahoma City.
The win kept the Rivermen (24-10-2-1, 51 points) alone atop the West Division and Western Conference. It is the fourth time this season that the Rivermen have won at least four games in a row. Peoria is now 15-3-2 in their last 20 games, dating back to Nov. 19.
Spina’s first goal came on a slapshot from the right side. After taking a pass from Derek Peltier, Spina walked to the top of the circle and blasted a slapshot under the blocker of Martin Gerber for his fifth of the season.
It only took 1:19 for Andrew Carroll to stake the Rivermen a 2-0 edge. Nikita Nikitin’s shot was stopped by Gerber but Anthony Peluso collected the rebound and shoved a shot through Gerber. With a swarm of players around a loose puck in the crease it was Carroll who forced it home. It was his second AHL goal of the season but first since he joined the Rivermen on a PTO on Dec. 16.
Peoria’s first power play led to their third goal with Mink finishing off a shot from Derek Nesbitt. With Ben Ondrus in the box for holding, Nikitin fed a pass to Nesbitt in the slot whose shot also snuck past Gerber but not in the net. Mink was parked on the backdoor and finished off the rolling puck to end a 12-game goalless drought.
The second period featured three fights and one goal for each side. Adam Cracknell, in his first game back from a seven-game stint in the NHL, dropped the gloves with Ondrus at 14:21. Then at the 17:00 mark, a scrum in front of Gerber led to Anthony Peluso and Andrew Lord getting acquainted. While the linesmen struggled to pull the two combatants apart, Ryan Reaves and Jake Taylor engaged. Both players were ejected from the game for a secondary altercation and Reaves was assessed an extra roughing minor for his refusal to let up on Taylor while he was down on the ice.
The second goal of the night for Spina came just 38 seconds later while the Rivermen were shorthanded. Dean Arsene sprung Stefan Della Rovere on a breakaway and while Gerber was able to make the initial stop, Spina was there to tap in the rebound. It was his sixth of the year and his second shorthanded goal of the season. It was also his first multi-goal game of the season and raised his total to six.
Milan Kytnar broke up Allen’s shutout bid with only 5.7 seconds left in the period. The goal also ended a stretch of nine unanswered goals scored by the Rivermen over the last two games.
Mink cashed in again at 14:25 of the third to collect his third multi-goal game of the season and first since Nov. 20 against Abbotsford. He knocked a Nick Drazenovic shot down with his body and before Gerber could drop to the ice he slid it home. It also made Mink the team’s third 10-goal scorer (along with Nebsitt - 13 and Phil McRae – 11).
With the game already in hand, Ryan O’Marra scored his second of the year at 18:58 to produce the 5-2 final.
Allen finished with 37 saves while Gerber had 36 in the loss. The 15th win of the season for Allen put him one back of Brad Thiessen of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for the league lead.
The two teams faceoff again on Saturday at 6:05 p.m. for the second of four straight games for Peoria against Oklahoma City. The game can be heard locally on 96.5 ESPN in Peoria on online through www.rivermen.net.