Resilient Rivermen Top First-Place Admirals
Opponent: @Milwaukee Admirals
Date: April 3, 2011 5:00
Score(Home/Away): 3-4 W
Despite two first period injuries the Peoria Rivermen found a way to win against the division leading Milwaukee Admirals on Sunday night at the Bradley Center. TJ Hensick and Stefan Della Rovere scored 13 seconds apart in the third period to break a 2-2 tie and propel the Rivermen into fourth place in the standings.
The Rivermen enter the final week of the regular season with 88 points (40-29-3-5) and are now one point ahead of the Oklahoma City Barons for the final guaranteed playoff spot in the West Division.
The game started on a sour note as Rivermen center Dave Scatchard was knocked out of a game by a hit from Scott Ford. Just 3:37 in, Ford was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for chcking to the head. Scatchard remained down on the ice for several minutes before he was taken off on a stretcher.
After failing to convert on the ensuing major penalty, the Rivermen almost immediately went back on the power play after Santorelli took a holding minor at 9:58. Only 19 seconds later, Akim Aliu netted the first goal of the game, assisted by Nathan Oystrick and Derek Nesbitt.
Peoria made quick work of their fourth power play of the first period with Hensick putting Peoria up 2-0 just 16 seconds into the advantage. Hensick jumped on a rebound and fired a wrist shot top shelf with Graham Mink providing the traffic in front of Engren.
With 3:01 left in the first period, Rivermen goaltender Ben Bishop was forced to leave the game with an injury. Bishop made only saw two shots before Jake Allen took over in relief.
At 5:04 of the second period, Chris Mueller cut the Rivermen lead in half with a power-play goal of his own. Mark Santorelli made a pass across the goal crease to Mueller who one-timed the puck into the open net for his 23rd goal of the season. Roman Josi earned the secondary assist on the play.
Milwaukee tied the game up just 44 seconds into the third period on a wraparound by Gabriel Bourque.
At the 3:00 mark, Hensick scored his 20th goal of the season to put the Rivermen back on top for good. Hensick intercepted a Milwaukee pass and walked in alone on Engren for the goal.
Della Rovere scored his goal 13 seconds later to put Peoria up 4-2 on a rebound from an Adam Cracknell snapshot.
With the net empty for Milwaukee, Teemu Laakso scored to put the Admirals within one with only 1:59 remaining. Laakso took a shot from the point that got through traffic and went off the crossbar and into the net.
In the dying seconds of the game Milwaukee came within inches of tying the affair but a scrambling Allen made a last second save from his back to push Peoria to the win.
The Rivermen finished 2-for-6 on the power play and outshot the Admirals 22-16.
Peoria will play the final three games of the regular season on home ice, beginning on Wednesday against the Texas Stars at 7:05 p.m. Tickets are available by calling 309-676-1040 and online through www.rivermen.net.