PEORIA, ILL – Someone was going to get their first win on Friday night as the Peoria Rivermen, winless in three games, and the Rockford Ice Hogs,winless in two contests, met in Peoria at Carver Arena. Many fans wearing the Blue Note or Indianhead logos of these two teams locked out NHL parent clubs, the 6759 in attendance were ready to watch some rivalry hockey. They were not disappointed. Three fights and three goals later, the hometown Rivermen emerged with a 2-1 victory.
The scoring started less than two minutes into the game when and slow shot by Andrew Shaw was showed aside by Peoria goaltender Jake Allen at the top of the crease. Waiting at the corner of the net, though, was Petyer LeBlanc, who put it behind Allen for the 1-0 Rockford lead. Brandon Pirri was credited with an assist, as well.
There were two fights in the first period, as well. At the opening face-off, Peoria’s Anthony Peluso and Rockford’s Brandon Bollig dropped the gloves. Bollig did an excellent job of tying up Peluso. This was a long fight and what few good shots landed came from Bollig.
Later in the period, Riverman defenseman Ian Cole flattened Pirri with a legal, open-ice hit that left Pirri crumples on the centerline. LeBlanc stepped in and fought Cole, landing several punches. Cole kept his feet and eventually tied LeBlanc up. Both went to the box for fighting but LeBlanc earned and extra two-minute penalty for roughing.
The Rivermen broke through in the second period and it was TJ Hensick who started it. Jaden Schwartz did a little grinding in the corner and the puck squirted out to Derek Nesbitt. It was Nesbitt who found Hensick in the slot and Hensick fired it past Rockford goalie Carter Hutton to tie the game 12:40 into the second period.
The Rivermen took the lead about four minutes later when Nesbitt misfired on a shot from the top of the circle. The errant puck slid slowly into the slot, where a charging Schwartz one-timed it past Hutton to draw the home team ahead, 2-1. Hensick had an assist, as well.
That would be the end of the scoring. A fight, Brett Ponich and Rob Flick, was the only action of note in the third period. This one went to the Rivermen, with Ponich winning easily.
Shots on goal were 34-29, advantage Rivermen. Allen took home his first win in four tries on the young season, allowing that single first period goal while Hutton took the loss, allowing two second period goals.
The Rivermen now have the weekend off and return to the ice next Friday at home against the Chicago Wolves.
Contact the author at Shaun.Bill@ProHockeyNews.com
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