Peoria Comeback Falls Frustratingly Short to Quad City
December 3, 2021 - 11:13 pm
MOLINE, IL – It was a heavyweight fight between two old rivals, punch and counter-punch. For the Rivermen, the resiliency, the scoring, and the effort were all there. But some bad breaks, and two disallowed goals, didn’t help. In the end, Peoria’s comeback effort fizzled out into a 5-4 overtime loss to the Quad City Storm on Friday night at the TaxSlayer Center.
Despite falling down in the first period early, the Rivermen fought back as they were able to score their first of three power-play goals. Mike Laidley was able to capitalize on a pass in front of the net to tie the game 1-1 and record his second goal of the year.
The Storm again took the lead midway through the first period off of a deflection in front. Peoria argued that the deflection occurred above the cross-bar but the referee upheld his initial goal call. That call would be the first of many frustrations the Rivermen experienced on Friday.
In the late stages of the first, there was a net mouth scramble for the puck that was shot home by Alec Baer. However, the goal was overturned due to goaltender inference despite there being little contact in front of the net.
Down 2-1, the Rivermen were caught back on their heels as Quad City sent 20 shots on netminder Eric Levine. One of those shots found its way into the net to extend the Storm lead. Peoria, by contrast, only mustered five shots in response but one of those also found its way in. J.M. Piotrowski was on the doorstep when a shot came from the point. There was some traffic in front and the puck managed to sneak in past Storm netminder Peter DiSalvo. Piotrowski saw the puck rolling on the goal-line and made sure it crossed with just five seconds remaining in the second period. Piotrowski’s goal marked his first tally and second point of the night. Coupled with the fight he had in the first period, Piotrowski earned the Rivermen’s first Gordie Howe Hat Trick of the season.
Trailing by just 3-2 going into the third period, the Rivermen seemed poised to strike again. However, it was the Storm striking on the power play just 88 seconds into the period to extend their lead again, this time to 4-2. Again, the Rivermen showed great resolve. They were awarded another power play soon after and again they were able to capitalize. Again, it was Piotrowski with the goal coming off a slap-shot from the right-wing side. Piotrowski’s second of the night pulled Peoria within one and marked the Rivermen’s third power-play goal of the game (Piotrowski’s first goal was also on the power play). All told, the Rivermen scored three power-play goals for the first time this season.
The Rivermen continued their surge with Baer’s goal that came unassisted midway through the third period. Peoria had tied the game on two straight tallies and seemed poised to take the lead and the contest. And just for a second, they all thought they did.
A late power play for Peoria saw them on the attack with just a few minutes remaining. Marcel Godbout, who has been playing well in his last few outings, had the puck at the top of the right-wing circle and fired a shot in past a screened DiSalvo. But once again, inexplicably, the goal was waved off due to goaltender interference. The Rivermen bench emphatically argued that there was little to no contact and that Rivermen forward Mitch McPherson was not in the crease at the time the shot came off of Godbout’s stick. Again, the official’s mind was made up and the golden chance to take the lead, the first goal of Godbout’s season, and perhaps the best opportunity to win the game, was lost.
The contest was decided in overtime as Storm defenseman Joe Sova capitalized off of a rebound in front less than three minutes into the extra session.
Despite earning a point, extending the Peoria point streak to five games, this loss stings more than most. The Rivermen weathered the storm, took the punches, and made it to the championship rounds, but were denied the victory they believed they rightfully earned. Peoria will have the chance to earn those two points back on Saturday night as they conclude their road series against Quad City, face-off is set for 7:10 pm.
Photo Credit: Photography by Allen