Rivermen Overcome Barons in Overtime, 5-4
Opponent: @Oklahoma City Barons
Date: January 8, 2011 6:05
Score(Home/Away): 4-5* W
After trailing time after time in Saturday night’s hockey thriller, the Peoria Rivermen grabbed a clutch 5-4 overtime victory against the Oklahoma City Barons at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City. Nathan Oystrick netted the game-winner just 16 seconds into the extra session to give Peoria its 25th win of the season and stretch its winning streak to five games.
The Rivermen (25-10-2-1, 53 points) remained in first place in the West Division and the Western Conference and trail only the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (30-8-0-0, 60 points) for the league’s best record.
Dave Spina finished with three assists on the night and had five points (2g, 3a) over the two games against the Barons this weekend. The Rivermen and Barons will meet again on Thursday in Peoria to start another two-game set.
Barons’ winger Ben Ondrus got the scoring started early with a shorthanded goal just 2:21 into the first period. Following an Oklahoma City interference penalty, Ondrus grabbed a pass from Colin McDonald and placed the puck between the legs of Rivermen goaltender Ben Bishop while a man down to give Oklahoma City a 1-0 lead.
Peoria took all of 16 seconds to answer. During the same power play that allowed a shorthanded goal, Spina slid a cross-ice pass to Mark Cundari who slapped a one-timer past Barons’ goaltender Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers at 2:37 of the first period. Spina and Derek Peltier notched the assists on the goal, which tied the game at 1-1.
Less than a minute later, Oklahoma City took their second lead of the game as Alexander Giroux scored his 14th goal of the season, while on the power play. With Brennan Evans in the box for tripping, Giroux netted the go-ahead goal at 3:19 of the first period, capping a stretch of three total goals in 58 seconds on the first three shots of the game.
Nick Drazenovic tied the game once again late in the first period. At the 19:08 mark, Drazenovic received a pass from the blue-line by Nikitia Nikitin. Drazenovic then turned and backhanded a shot that never made it to the net. After it was knocked around in the slot, Drazenovic grabbed the loose puck again and this time, put it behind Deslauriers to even the game at 2-2.
The second period began much the same as the first 20 minutes of play. Just 3:31 into the frame, Barons’ center Chris Vandevelde gave Oklahoma City their third lead of the game on a disputed goal. After a collision in front of the net that knocked both Bishop and the Rivermen goal out of position, Vandevelde grabbed the puck and wristed it into the back of the net which had come off its bearings. Despite some conversation, the goal stood giving Oklahoma City a 3-2 lead.
Again, the Rivermen answered with another game-tying goal, this time with a power-play goal from Adam Cracknell at 13:20 of the second period. With 19 seconds left on a Barons’ holding penalty, Ian Cole placed a perfect wrist shot to the side of the Oklahoma City net where Cracknell was camping out. All the Rivermen winger had to do was redirect it behind Deslauriers for his fifth goal of the season, which knotted the game at 3-3. Cole and Spina were credited with the assists.
The pendulum swung right on cue as the third period began. For the fourth time in the game, Oklahoma City took a one-goal lead as Giroux scored his second goal of the game at 4:35. From the top of the left circle, Giroux took a snap shot following a toe-drag that found its way under Bishop’s blocker and into the net.
Yet again, Peoria would not go down without a fight as Stefan Della Rovere chipped in and scored the equalizer at 16:25 of the third period. Peoria’s Tyler Shattock fired an initial shot from the slot that was knocked up and into the air. While in mid-flight, Della Rovere deflected it once again, this time around the Baron’s goaltender and into the net. Shattock and Cole assisted on the goal, which evened the game at 4-4 and sent the contest into overtime.
It took only 16 seconds for Oystrick to knock home the game-winner in the overtime session. Shortly after the faceoff, Spina skated with the puck across the blue-line and took a slap shot on net that was saved by Deslauriers, but not held. Instead, the puck slid loose along the goal line until Oystrick tapped it in giving Peoria a 5-4 victory.
Bishop finished with 23 saves in picking up the win and improving his record to 10-8-1-1. Deslauriers made 29 saves in recording the loss.The Rivermen were also 2-6 on the power play, while finishing 3-4 on the penalty kill.
The Rivermen return home for three straight games on Thursday, Friday and Saturday all at 7:05 p.m. Tickets are available by calling the Rivermen office at 309-676-1040 or online through www.rivermen.net.