Rivermen Rally Falls Short in Shootout
December 4, 2021 - 10:50 pm
MOLINE, IL – The story was set, the fans on their feet, and while not likely, it wouldn’t be a surprise if someone was already penning a script to sell to Disney. The Peoria Rivermen, facing their largest deficit of the season, had just scored three unanswered goals to force overtime against a Quad City team that had never surrendered a game when leading after the first period. It was all set up for a Hollywood ending. But the game was decided in the shootout and not in Peoria’s favor as the Rivermen fell 4-3 to the Storm on Saturday night at the TaxSlayer Center.
The first period did not go as planned for the Rivermen. Despite out-shooting Quad City, Peoria found itself down 2-0 after the first period. The second period saw the Rivermen unload 14 shots on the Quad City net but could not find a shot to go in. Instead, the Storm extended their lead to 3-0 off of a quick shot in the low slot.
Entering the third period the Rivermen faced their largest road deficit of the season, down 3-0 facing a netminder they had not been able to beat all night. That third period might be considered one of Peoria’s best.
It all started on the Rivermen’s fourth power play as Marcel Godbout (who was denied a goal in the closing stages of a tied game on Friday) buried a hard wrist shot from the right side to record his first goal of the season. That tally came just three minutes into the third and the Rivermen looked like a different team afterward.
They went on the attack, they sold out to block shots, they were strong on their sticks and accurate with their passing. So intense was the turnaround that the Storm were forced to drop four players back to keep Peoria from advancing. But advance they did and Alec Baer broke through.
Baer’s first goal came as Mathieu Cloutier made an excellent play to poke the puck in past a forechecking defender at the Storm blue line and allowed Baer to pick the puck up along the left wall. In behind the defense, Baer streaked in and fired a shot into the back of the net to record his second goal of the weekend and first of the night.
Down just 3-2 entering the late stages of the third period, the Rivermen pulled their goaltender for the extra attacker, and again Baer was the hero as he was able to stuff in a shot with just 66 seconds remaining to tie the game at 3-3.
In overtime, both the Rivermen and the Storm exchanged excellent scoring changes with both sides trading odd-man rushes. But the goalies were stout and the game was to be decided in the shootout. In an area the Rivermen have had challenges in all season long, the magic touch did not reappear. Quad City tallied two goals to Peoria’s none and won the game and the extra point, spoiling what would have been a comeback worthy of a Hallmark movie.
Despite the loss, the Rivermen can take plenty of positives away from the evening and the series. They scored four power-play goals on the weekend, saw the emergence of forwards JM Piotrowski and Baer as secondary scoring threats to compliment Alec Hagaman, and of course the Rivermen extend their point streak to six straight games.
The Rivermen will look for a better result on home ice on December 10 as they host the Knoxville Ice Bears for a two-game series.