Rampage Top Rivermen 4-2
Opponent: San Antonio Rampage
Date: March 25, 2011 7:05
Score(Home/Away): 2-4 L
Special teams proved to be the difference Friday night at Carver arena as the San Antonio Rampage downed the Peoria Rivermen 4-2. San Antonio scored a pair of power-play goals, added a shorthanded tally and kept the Rivermen to 1-for-9 on the advantage to pull into a three-way tie for fifth place in the West Division.
The Rivermen (37-28-2-5), the Rampage (38-28-3-2) and the Chicago Wolves (36-27-3-6) are all even eith 81 points and tied for the cross-over playoff spot in the Western Conference. Peoria and San Antonio will faceoff three more times over the next seven days.
San Antonio was able to get on the board first on the man advantage at the 11:02 mark of the first period. Ben Bishop stopped Viktor Tikhonov’s shot but the rebound rolled to the side of the net where Alexandre Picard tapped in his 22nd of the year. Randy Robitaille picked up the second assist on the goal.
Graham Mink tied the game with his 23rd of the year on the power-play as well with 1:45 left on the clock in the opening frame. Tyson Strachan hit Mink with a pass up the middle sending him in on a breakaway and Mink buried a shot past the right leg of Matt Climie. Bishop also picked up his second assist of the year on the goal. For Mink it was his third goal in as many games and his fifth in the last nine contests.
The Rampage regained the lead at the 3:48 mark of the second period while shorthanded on Bracken Kearns’s 19th of the year from Chris Summers and Michael Stone. Summers came streaking up the right wing with speed and sent a pass to the slot to Kearns who one-timed a shot by Bishop into the empty net.
The Rivermen responded at 9:55 when Brett Sonne was able to slam home a rebound in front of Climie. Climie got a pad on Strachan’s shot from the point and Stefan Della Rovere’s point blank rebound, but Sonne crashed the net and buried the loose puck to tie the game up for a second time.
The Rampage scored their second power-play goal of the night with just under two minutes remaining in the second. Just as the time expired on a 5-on-3 power play, Mathieu Beaudoin got a hold of a one-timer near the bottom of the left circle that went over the shoulder of Bishop and into the goal. It was Beaudoin’s 20th of the year from Garrett Stafford and Tikhonov.
Picard’s second of the game with 10:30 remaining gave the Rampage the lead for good. Picard’s slap shot from the top of the right circle went off of Bishop’s shoulder and into the net. Jeff May and Beaudoin added the assists.
The Rivermen registered just 20 shots on Climie and while Bishop made 20 saves in the loss.
The Rivermen take on the San Antonio Rampage again Saturday night at Carver Arena at 7:05 p.m. Rivermen youth jerseys will be given away to the first 1,000 children 12 and younger. The game can be heard locally on 96.5 ESPN in Peoria or online at www.rivermen.net. Tickets are available through www.rivermen.net or by calling 309-676-1040.