Comeback Ends in Overtime Loss
Opponent: @San Antonio Rampage
Date: April 2, 2011 7:00
Score(Home/Away): 3-2* L
Down 2-0 at the start of the third period, the Peoria Rivermen scored twice to force overtime but fell to the San Antonio Rampage 3-2 on Saturday night at the AT&T Center. Nick Drazenovic notched his career-high 20th of the season to tie the game with 9:06 left in regulation before Matt Watkins chipped in the game-winner at 4:29 of overtime.
Peoria (39-29-3-5, 86 points) remain in a tie for fifth place in the West Division, now with the Chicago Wolves (38-29-4-6). The Rivermen sit just one point behind Oklahoma City (38-28-2-9) with a game in-hand and will have a chance to jump into fourth place tomorrow with a win against Milwaukee.
San Antonio’s Garrett Stafford started the scoring at 10:25 of the first period while on the power play. Just 20 seconds after a tripping call against Derek Peltier, Stafford grabbed a pass at the blue line from Alex Picard. Stafford then ripped a shot from the point off the shoulder of Rivermen goaltender Jake Allen and in. Picard and Mathieu Beaudoin recorded the assists.
Less than 3 minutes later, the Rampage extended their lead on David Brine’s second goal of the year. At the 13:21 mark, Dean Arsene collided with San Antonio’s Eric Neilson in the Rivermen zone while Rylan Galiardi brought the puck to the net where Brine grabbed the rebound from just outside the crease and knocked it in. Eric Neilson was credited with an assist and now has all three of his points this season against the Rivermen.
San Antonio took its 2-0 lead into the first intermission and held that margin throughout the second frame. At 4:40 of the third period, Anthony Nigro cut the Rampage lead in half with his eighth goal of the year. A cross-ice pass from Dave Spina was deflected by a skate and slid right to Nigro in the slot. Nigro then rifled the puck up and over the glove of San Antonio goaltender Matt Climie.
Later, Nick Drazenovic evened things up at 2-2 with his third goal of the weekend. At 10:54, T.J. Hensick threw a puck to Graham Mink at the side of the Rampage cage. Mink then deflected a pass off of Climie’s leg pad to Drazenovic in front of net, who one-timed the puck home for the equalizer.
The game went into overtime for the second night in a row. After both teams had opportunities to seal the game in the extra session, Matt Watkins notched the game-winner with just 31 seconds to play. During a fanatic frenzy in front of Peoria’s net in which Allen lost both is blocker and stick, Watkins tapped a loose puck under the Rivermen goaltender. The scramble came immediately following Allen’s save on Randy Robataille as he raced in a on a breakaway.
Allen finished the game with 33 saves in recording the loss while Climie stopped 27 of 29 shots for the win. Peoria went 0-for-3 on the power play while the Rampage finished 1-for-3.
The Rivermen will conclude their road trip and their regular season road schedule on Sunday with a 5:05p.m. game against the Milwaukee Admirals. The game can be heard locally on 96.5 ESPN in Peoria or online at www.rivermen.net.