Nesbitt's Four Goals Lift Rivermen Into First Place
Opponent: San Antonio Rampage
Date: January 5, 2011 7:05
Score(Home/Away): 7-4 W
The Peoria Rivermen scored the final five goals of the game to earn a 7-4 victory over the San Antonio Rampage on Wednesday night at Carver Arena. The two teams entered the game tied for the top spot in the West Division and the Western Conference and the win pushed Peoria into sole possession of first place for the first time since Oct. 30.
Derek Nesbitt scored four times and finished with five points and became the first Rivermen since Charles Linglet on April 3, 2007 to have a five-point game. It was the first Rivermen hat trick since Derek Armstrong scored four times on Jan. 30, 2010.
The Rampage found the back of the net first when Petr Prucha capitalized on the power play at 16:06. His wrist shot looked to be going wide, but it deflected off of Jake Allen’s glove and trickled into the net for his eighth of the year. Brett MacLean and Garret Stafford picked up assists on the goal.
Bracken Kearns put the Rampage up 2-0 on the very next San Antonio shot just 57 seconds later off a bad bounce in front of Allen. Ryan Hollweg’s shot deflected off of Matt Watkins and bounced right across the slot to Kearns for the tap-in.
The Rivermen responded with a power-play goal of their own with just 20 seconds left in the opening frame. Nesbitt and Nikita Nikitin moved the puck around the perimeter and Nathan Oystrick’s slapshot beat Rampage goaltender Al Montoya five-hole. It was Oystrick’s ninth of the year, which leads all Rivermen defensemen, and sixth power-play goal.
Peoria carried the momentum into the second and capitalized when Nesbitt’s goal tied the game at 2-2. At 4:45, a no-look T.J. Hensick pass from the corner set up Nesbitt just outside the crease.
San Antonio regained the two-goal lead on back-to-back goals from MacLean and Stafford this time 1:24 apart midway through the middle frame.
Hensick and Graham Mink combined to setup Nesbitt for two goals, at 13:31 and 15:45, to draw the Rivermen back to even through two periods. After an even-strength one-timer put Peoria down 4-3, Hensick found Nesbitt at the top of the left circle on the power play to even the score.
Tyler Shattock was responsible for the eventual game-winner with his second of the year at 6:14 of the third. Dave Spina and Shattock entered the San Antonio zone two-on-two and Shattock let one go that beat Montoya blocker side.
Nesbitt added his fourth of the game on a 4-on-3 advantage by redirecting a pass from Oystrick, and Stefan Della Rovere added a shorthanded empty-netter late in the third to wrap up the scoring.
Peoria’s seven goals were the most scored in a game this season and the most since they beat the Rampage 7-2 on Nov. 20, 2009.
Peoria outshot San Antonio 37-28 on their way to their first win of the season when allowing three goals or more goals. The Rivermen power play finished 3-for-6 and the penalty kill was also efficient going 4-for-5.
The Rivermen open up a two-game set in Oklahoma City Friday at 7:05 p.m. The game can be heard locally on 96.5 ESPN Radio or online on www.rivermen.net.