Hensick's Heroics Defeat Rockford 3-2
Opponent: Rockford IceHogs
Date: January 25, 2011 7:05
Score(Home/Away): 3-2 W
The Peoria Rivermen returned to Carver Arena Tuesday night after a four game road trip in winning fashion as they beat the Rockford IceHogs 3-2 for their second straight win. T.J. Hensick had a hand in Peoria’s final two goals, including the game-winner late in the third period to bring his home point-streak to eight straight games. Ben Bishop stopped 35 of 37 Rockford shots en route to his 12th win of the season.
The win extended Peoria’s West Division lead to three points (28-15-2-1, 59 pts) over a four-way tie for second place. It also pushed the Rivermen into sole possession of first place in the Western Conference.
The Rivermen, who never trailed in the game, found the back of the net with just under a minute to go in the first period and just seconds after time expired on Ryan Potulny’s high-sticking minor. Mark Cundari sent the puck down to Nick Drazenovic in the corner who then fed Chris Porter near the bottom of the left circle. Porter then one-timed the puck over the blocker of Hannu Toivonen for his sixth of the year.
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Rockford answered just 39 seconds later when Brandon Pirri tallied his sixth of the year. Brian Connelly made a pass through the middle of the neutral zone from his own blue line to send Pirri in on a breakaway. Pirri broke through both defenseman and rang a shot off the left post and to beat Bishop and evening up the score at the end of one.
Anthony Peluso accounted for the only goal of the second period just 2:51 in. Hensick intercepted a pass and fed a perfect feed through a defender’s legs to a wide-open Peluso on the doorstep. He ripped his fifth of the season into an open net to send the Rivermen to the third with a lead.
The IceHogs managed to tie the game 5:52 into the third on Pirri’s second of the game and seventh of the year. Mathis Olimb , from behind the goal line, sent a pass to the right of Bishop and hit Pirri at the top of the left circle who wristed one just inside the post.
With 3:06 remaining in regulation Graham Mink took a shot from the right boards and Hensick was able to pick up the rebound in the slot pull it to right side of the crease and bury the game winner. It was Hensick’s 11th of the year and first game-winning goal.
Each squad went 0-for-5 on the power play while Rockford edged out Peoria in shots 37 to 35. The Rivermen improved to 5-1-0 this season against Rockford who they will face four more times with Peoria on the road for three of those games.
The Rivermen head to Milwaukee on Friday to take on the Admirals at 7 p.m. The game can be heard locally on 96.5 ESPN Radio or online on www.rivermen.net.