PEORIA, ILL – Mike McKenna was 190 feet away from a wild St. Patrick’s Day party and he didn’t want to miss it. Taylor Chorney scored the winning goal 30 seconds into overtime. As his teammates swarmed him, McKenna took off as fast as his goalie skates could carry him for the other end of the ice, shaking his stick in celebration as the Rivermen dispatched the Grand Rapids Griffins 3-2 in front of 4998 revelers.
Scoring got off to a quick start when Anthony Nigro’s pass met with Mark Cundari at the top of the left circle. Cundari’s one-timer blew past Grand Rapids goaltender Tom McCollum for a quick 1-0 lead. Andre Bouvet-Morrissette added an assist on that goal at 1:42 of the first period.
In the second period, it was Grand Rapids turn to score quickly. At the 1:11 mark, Jan Mursak slipped a defensive rebound to Tomas Tartar, who came down alone against Mike McKenna, the Rivermen goalie. Tartar slipped it through the stacked pads of McKenna to even the score, 1-all.
Just over three minutes later, the Rivermen stormed back into the lead when Nigro buried the rebound of a Bouvet-Morrissette shot to put the Rivermen ahead 2-1. Jeff Woywitka snagged an assist on the play at 4:21 of the middle period.
Ten minutes later, Francis Pare, Tomas Jurco and Louis-Marc Aubry crowded around McKenna. Aubry was credited with the goal as McKenna was late with the butterfly and the period ended with the score tied at two.
Chorney, hoever, wasted no time in overtime though, as the Griffins brought the opening face-off into the attacking zone. Chorney stripped the puck along the boards and then skated down the far side, alone. Hensick mirrored him on the near side with a defenseman in between. Chorney pulled up at the top of the far circle and fired a low shot into the net to set off the celebration.
McKenna pocketed his 14th win of the season, stopping 24 of 26 shots. McCollum took the loss, stopping 25 of 28 shots. Neither team profited with a man-advantage, as Peoria had just two chances and Grand Rapids, four.
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