Rivermen Surrender Four Third-Period Goals in Game 1 Loss to Huntsville

April 25, 2018 7:15 pm

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Huntsville Havoc


Photo Credit: Dennis Sievers/Peoria Rivermen

Rivermen Surrender Four Third-Period Goals in Game 1 Loss to Huntsville

Third-period meltdown puts Rivermen in 1-0 finals hole


Peoria, IL – The Peoria Rivermen saw a 4-1 second-period lead vanish Wednesday night as they gave up four third-period goals en route to a 6-5 loss the Huntsville Havoc in Game 1 of the President’s Cup Finals. The loss puts the Rivermen into a must-win situation when the Best-of-3 series resumes Friday night in Huntsville.


The Rivermen started the scoring with a power-play goal early in the first period. With Havoc defenseman Nolan Kaiser in the box for slashing, Rivermen center Justin Greenberg took the puck off the faceoff to the top of the right-wing circle of the Havoc zone. His pass to the slot found Peoria winger Joe Kalisz, who snapped a shot past the blocker of Havoc goaltender Keegan Asmundson for a 1-0 lead at 2:57 of the period.


The Havoc tied the score with a power-play goal of their own near the midpoint of the first frame. With Peoria winger Ryan Siiro in the sin bin for high sticking, the Havoc worked the puck to the high slot of the Peoria zone, where Huntsville defenseman Derek Perl fired a shot past the outstretched glove of Peoria netminder Tyler Parks for a 1-1 score at 9:50 of the frame.


The Rivermen retook the lead with a quick pair of even-strength goals late in the first period. With play ongoing in neutral ice, Peoria center Joseph Widmar carried the puck into the Havoc zone. Widmar’s shot from the right circle was denied by Asmundson before Kalisz popped the ensuing rebound into the Havoc net for a 2-1 lead at 14:46 of the opening period. Peoria pushed their lead to a two-goal edge at 17:15 of the frame when Rivermen defenseman Ben Oskroba took a pass at the left point of the Havoc zone, and his wrister from atop the left circle beat Asmundson’s blocker for a 3-1 Peoria lead.


The Rivermen and Havoc traded goals just seven seconds apart early in the game’s middle stanza. Rivermen winger Alec Hagaman took a pass from Kalisz and split the Huntsville defense for a breakaway into the zone. Hagaman feinted a move to his forehand before wrapping a backhand past Asmundson’s right pad for a 4-1 lead at 3:00 of the frame. The Havoc made it 4-2 seven seconds later when winger Tyler Piacentini entered the right wing of the Peoria zone off the center ice faceoff and sent a shot off Parks’ body that caromed out and was stuffed home by Havoc winger Christian Powers at 3:07 of the period.


The Havoc pulled to within a goal prior to the midway mark of the game’s final period. Piacentini took a pass from Havoc defenseman Stuart Stefan and raced into the right wing of the Rivermen zone before he sent a pass to the left-wing circle, where Powers one-timed it past Parks to cut the Peoria lead to 4-3 at 8:54 of the frame.


Huntsville tied the game and took the lead with a quick pair just past the 11-minute mark of the third stanza. Piacentini carried into the right wing of the Rivermen zone, circled behind the Peoria net and came to the high slot, where his wrister beat Parks to tie the game at four goals apiece at 11:06 of the period. The Havoc took the lead seconds later when Huntsville defenseman Anthony Calabrese took the puck at the right point of the Peoria zone and sent it toward the net, where Havoc center Sy Nutkevitch deflected it past Parks for a 5-4 lead at 11:42 of the period.


The Havoc extended their lead to 6-4 with a goal late in the third period. Ona 3-on-1 break into the Rivermen zone, Havoc center Shawn Bates held on the right wing, then sent a cross-ice pass to teammate Justin Fox, who fired a shot past Parks for a 6-4 score at 17:16 of the period.


The Rivermen got back within a goal with Parks off for an extra attacker in the game’s final two minutes. With a faceoff in the right wing of the Havoc zone, Rivermen forward Connor Gorman won the draw over the boards, and Peoria winger Mike Gurtler sent a shot past Asmundson for the eventual 6-5 final score at 18:04 of the frame.


Parks stopped 24 of 30 shots faced as he took the loss between the pipes. The defeat is Parks’ first since March 24 and his first regulation loss since a January 19 defeat at Huntsville.


Notes: Huntsville’s first goal of the game snapped Parks’ shutout streak of 119:22…Kalisz recorded two goals and an assist for his first career playoff points, his first multi-goal game since November 18 as a member of the Fayetteville Marksmen, and his second ever three-point game as a pro…Gurtler’s goal is his team-leading fifth in as many postseason games…The Rivermen and Havoc will resume the series with Game 2 Friday night at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, where faceoff is set for 7:00 p.m…The broadcast of the game can be heard, starting with the pre-game show, at 6:40 p.m. at http://mixlr.com/peoria-rivermen/


Group and season tickets for Peoria's 37th season of professional hockey presented by Midwest Orthopaedic Center are on sale through the Rivermen office, located at 201 S.W. Jefferson Street, or over the phone at (309) 676-1040. For the latest Rivermen news and notes, follow online at www.rivermen.net or through Facebook (www.facebook.com/PeoriaRivermen) - Twitter(https://twitter.com/Peoria_Rivermen)