The Peoria Rivermen forced overtime with a pair of goals late in regulation, but fell to the Mississippi RiverKings, 4-3, at the Landers Center on Saturday. Matt Whitehead scored the game-winner with just 42 seconds left, part of a two-goal and four-point night for the Mississippi winger.
Peoria (2-3-1-0, 5pts) suffered its fourth straight loss but picked up a point for the first time since Oct. 26. Goaltender Eric Levine (0-1-1) suffered the loss in his first pro start after making 29 saves on 33 shots.
The RiverKings grabbed the first lead of the game at 1:55 courtesy of Whitehead. After a shot from Todd Hosmer, Whitehead grabbed the puck in the near corner and skated towards the slot, before lifting a wrister past Levine for a 1-0 lead. Hosmer was credited with the assist.
Peoria answered at 15:34 of the opening frame with Tyler Amburgey’s second goal of the season on the power play. Following a too many men penalty to the Mississippi bench, Dean Yakura got the puck to Amburgey at the right point, who sniped a slap shot past RiverKings’ goaltender Matthew Krahn.
Mississippi regained the lead in the second period with the only goal of the frame coming from Hosmer. At 7:28, the RiverKings’ star winger was the beneficiary of several nice passes by Whitehead and Daniel Sabotka and found the back of the net to make it 2-1.
Hosmer added his second goal of the game at 7:52 of the third with a great individual play on a one-on-two. Hosmer gained the zone then flipped a shot blocker side low from the slot for a 3-1 Kings’ lead.
Not to be denied, the Rivermen answered in a big way with the minutes winding down in regulation. At 16:44, Nick Wheeler netted his second goal of the year to cut the deficit to one. Less than two minutes later, Adam Hartley evened the game at 3-3 with a shot from a tough angle below the left circle. Amburey was credited with the only help at 18:39.
In overtime, Whitehead received a pass from Leo Thomas at the top of the right circle and pulled the trigger on a wrister that beat Levine blocker side for the 4-3 final.
Amburgey (1g, 1a), Whitehead (2g, 2a), and Hosmer (2g, 1a) each recorded a multi-point night.
Peoria finished the game 1-for-5 on the power play and a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill. The Rivermen were also outshot, 33-22, for just the second time this year.
The Rivermen continue a 5-game road trip on Sunday with a 3:05 p.m. puck drop against the Mississippi RiverKings at Landers Center. The game can be heard locally on CD Country 107.9 FM or online at www.cd1079.net. Fans can also follow along via the live video and audio stream at www.americaonesports.com.