Five Unanswered Goals Lift Peoria Into Playoffs
Opponent: Chicago Wolves
Date: April 8, 2011 7:05
Score(Home/Away): 5-2 W
The Peoria Rivermen clinched a playoff spot Friday night in front of their home fans at Carver Arena with a come-from-behind 5-2 win against the division rival Chicago Wolves. Akim Aliu and Nathan Oystrick netted the game-tying and game-winning goals against their former team while Derek Nesbitt picked up two assists in the win.
The playoff berth for the Rivermen is their third since joining the American Hockey League in 2005 and first since the 2008-09 season. The win gave the Rivermen (42-29-8) 92 points to keep them in a third-place tie with the Texas Stars (41-27-10). The Rivermen close out the season tomorrow night against the Milwaukee Admirals at Carver Arena and can still finish anywhere from third to fifth in the division.
Peoria has won three straight games, four of their last five, and have at least one point in five consecutive games. It was the first time in eight meetings this season that the Rivermen beat the Wolves in regulation (4-2-1-1) and the first time in 10 tries that they won a game against Wolves’ goaltender Peter Mannino in regulation (8-1-0-1).
Andre Deveaux opened the scoring for Chicago just 1:55 into the game with his 22nd of the year from Fredrik Pettersson and Jason Krog. After getting a feed from Krog, Pettersson carried the puck through the left circle and dropped a pass to Deveaux in the slot where he tapped it into a vacant net.
Jason Krog netted his 19th of the year with 9.3 seconds left in the first to give the Wolves a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes. Pettersson picked up his second assist of the game and Deveaux picked up his second point with an assist as well.
Peoria responded in the second period with two goals of their own on a season-high 22 shots. At the 5:23 mark Stefan Della Rovere beat Mannino to the left post on a wrap around for his eighth of the year from Derek Peltier and Adam Cracknell.
With 1:53 left in the middle frame Akim Aliu tied the game with his ninth of the year. Derek Nesbitt gathered a loose puck in the right circle near the wall and threw a turnaround no-look backhand pass across the ice to Aliu who one-timed in the game tying goal.
The Rivermen started the third period on the power play and just 42 seconds in, Nathan Oystrick notched his 15th of the year and eighth on the power play. Hensick found Oystrick in the left circle and his one timer beat Mannino on the glove side while Tyson Strachan picked up the second assist on the goal. His 15 goals are tied for most among all AHL defenseman.
With 7:05 left on the clock Anthony Nigro netted his ninth of the year on another nice play from Nesbitt. He walked out of the corner and had his shot slid across the slot to an open Nigro for the goal.
Drazenovic sealed the victory with 1:44 on the clock on an empty-netter from deep in his own zone. Oystrick’s power play tally early in the third stood as the only power play for both squads. The Rivermen outshot the Wolves 43-24 in the game.
The Rivermen host the Milwaukee Admirals on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. for Free Food / Fan Appreciation Night. Thousands of dollars in prizes will be given away to fans in attendance and every fan will receive a voucher for a free hot dog, chips, soda and Twinkie from the Carver Arena concession stands. For tickets call 309-676-1040 or visit www.rivermen.net.