Houston Comes from Behind to Grab 3-0 Series Lead
Opponent: Houston Aeros
Date: April 18, 2011 7:05
Score(Home/Away): 3-5 L
The Houston Aeros came from behind and scored four unanswered goals, for the second time in the series, to win 5-3 and take 3-0 lead over the Peoria Rivermen in the West Division Semifinal. Akim Aliu scored 19 seconds into the game for the Rivermen and T.J. Hensick scored twice, but the Aeros held Peoria to just 15 shots on goal in the game.
Game 4 will be played at Carver Arena on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. and if Peoria can force Game 5 it will be on Wednesday.
Akim Aliu, in his first game of the series, collected a rebound in the slot off Derek Nesbitt’s shot from the point and backhanded it by the blocker of Matt Hackett to open the scoring just 19 seconds into the first period.
At the 9:49 mark, Hensick gave the Rivermen a two-goal cushion with his first goal of the playoffs as well. Dave Spina backhanded a shot on net and the rebound came to Hensick in the slot where he was able to slide the puck along the ice just past the left skate of Hackett.
Houston responded 48 seconds into the second period with Jake Gannon still in the box from his penalty late in the first period. Chad Rau’s shot was stopped by Allen but the rebound squirted to Casey Wellman right in front of the crease and he lifted it up over Allen for his first of the playoffs. Maxim Noreau added an assist on the goal as well.
Hensick answered with a power-play goal of his own at the 3:41 mark of the second period. Hensick walked in from the top of the left circle and placed a perfect wrist shot by the short side of Hackett to give the Rivermen their second two-goal lead of the game. Hensick’s goal was Peoria’s only shot on goal in the second period.
Houston captain – and former Rivermen - Jon DiSalvatore cut the Rivermen lead in half once again on his first of playoffs from Patrick O’Sullivan at the 9:43 mark of the second. While crossing the Rivermen blueline, DiSalvatore wound up for a slap shot and blasted the puck off the right post and in.
Houston came out firing early in the third period as well and tied the game, 3-3, just 1:12 into the final frame. Wellman dropped off a pass to a wide-open Rau in the slot and he wristed a shot over the glove of Allen for his second of the playoffs. Jeff Penner added the second assist on the goal.
Colton Gillies picked up a loose puck to the right of Allen’s crease and backhanded it into the empty net at 11:53 to give the Aeros their first lead of the game. Roughly th3ree minutes later Gillies tapped in a loose puck in the crease for his first two-goal game of the season.
The Rivermen were outshot 30-15 in the game and have been outshot in each game of the series. The Aeros scored once in on six power plays while the Rivermen finished 1-for-2 on the man advantage.
Game 4 between the Rivermen and Aeros is set for Tuesday night at 7:05 again from Carver Arena in Peoria. Tickets are on sale online through www.rivermen.net, over the phone at 309-676-1040, and at the Peoria Civic Center box office.