PEORIA, Ill – With a blizzard raging outside, there was a flurry of scoring inside Peoria’s Carver Arena on Saturday night. The Fayetteville Fire Antz and the Peoria Rivermen combined for eight goals in front of a big crowd. It was the home team that came out ahead, though, 5-3, in front of 5710 fans.
There was no score midway through the first period when Adam Hartley stole the puck behind the Fayetteville net. He passed to Jarrett Rush, who shot wide. Dean Yakura scrambled for the loose puck and fired point-blank shot that was stopped by Fire Antz goalie Peter Skoggard. The rebound flipped out to the other side of the net, where a charging Aaron McGill, who filled the open net. Officially the score came at 10:18 of the first period, giving Peoria an early 1-0 lead
The teams traded goals in the second period. John Clewlow stole the puck in the neutral zone and skated in alone on Peoria goaltender Eric Levine at 6:09 of the second period to tie it at one. Adam Hartley stuffed the puck in at 11:52 for a 2-1 Peoria lead and Parker Stanfield extended the Peoria lead to 3-1 at 14:03 on a power play. Tommy Lange tipped in a Derek Elliot shot on a power play to pull the Fire Ants back to within one, setting the score at 3-2 at 15:54 of the second period.
Tyler Larsen took a feed from Garrett Vermeersch in the neutral zone and skated in alone to extend the Peoria lead. That insurance goal paid dividends when Fayetteville made good on a five-on-three power play at 16:48 the third period.
Fayetteville’s solid effort at a comeback, including fifteen shots on goal in the third period, fell short though when Matt Viola tossed up a fluttering clearing shot that skipped and bounced into the empty net for the final score.
Fayetteville’s vaunted penalty kill unit allowed one goal in four chances. The Peoria special teams allowed two goals in six opportunities.
Bloomington and Peoria exchange opponents for Sunday games, as Fire Antz travel to Bloomington and the Memphissippi Riverkings come to Carver arena for a 3:15pm Sunday matinee.
Contact the Author at Shaun.Bill@ProHockeyNews.com or follow him on Twitter @SLBatPHN.