Birmingham Stages Third Period Comeback to Down Rivermen 6-5
Pelham, AL - The Peoria Rivermen saw a 5-3 third-period lead evaporate under an extended penalty-kill sequence before the Birmingham Bulls charged to a 6-5 shootout win in Pelham Saturday night. The loss, Peoria's second straight, keeps Peoria in second place in the SPHL standings before tomorrow's road-trip finale in Macon, GA.
The Bulls opened the scoring early in the game's first period. Birmingham center Josh Harris sent the puck from his own zone to the Rivermen end with teammate Jacob Barber giving chase. As a potential icing call was waved off, Barber snapped the lively rebound off the end boards and past Rivermen goaltender Mason Pulde for a 1-0 Birmingham lead at 2:38 of the period.
The Bulls doubled their lead and chased Pulde from the contest near the midway point of the first period. With play in the left wing of the Rivermen zone, a loose puck bounced its way into the high slot, where Birmingham center Andy Bathgate rifled a shot past Pulde for a 2-0 lead at 8:19 of the period, after which Pulde was lifted in favor of Rivermen net-mate Peter Di Salvo.
The Rivermen got on the board with their first goal of the night just moments later. Peoria winger Connor Gorman carried down the right-wing boards of the Bulls zone, and dropped a pass to Rivermen captain Dave Pszenyczny on the point. Pszenyczny's drive from the right point was redirected in front by Peoria winger Joe Kalisz, past Bulls netminder Charlie Millen for the 2-1 score at 8:34 of the first period.
The Rivermen tied the game with a goal in the early portion of the game's second period. Rivermen winger Mike Gurtler took a long pass from teammate Alec Hagaman, and sped into the right wing of the Birmingham zone. Gurtler then drove to the net and shoveled a backhander that tumbled over Millen's arm and into the net for a 2-2 score at 7:06 of the second.
Peoria took their first lead of the night with a goal late in the middle frame. With play ongoing in the Birmingham zone, Pszenyczny collected the puck in the high slot, and fired a shot that was tipped by Rivermen winger Will Smith and past Millen for a 3-2 Peoria lead at 19:33 of the period.
The Bulls tied the game at three apiece with a power-play goal early in the third period. With Rivermen defenseman Ben Oskroba in the box for holding, Bulls center Justin Larson entered the left wing of the Rivermen zone, and fed a pass across the slot to Birmingham winger Evan Schultz, who fired a shot past Di Salvo for the 3-3 score at 3:09 of the third frame.
Peoria re-took the lead with a pair of even-strength goals in the middle stretches of the third period. With play in the Birmingham zone, Rivermen center Joseph Widmar's drive from the left point was redirected by teammate Keegan Bruce and past Millen for a 4-3 Rivermen lead at 5:31 of the third. The Rivermen lead grew to 5-3 at the 11:10 mark of the period when Widmar took a pass from teammate Justin Greenberg into the high slot, and Widmar rifled a shot past Millen for the two-goal advantage.
The Bulls tied the game with a pair of power-play goals late in the third period. After a 16-second stretch of play that included two multi-fight sequences and took about 25 minutes of real time to sort out, the Rivermen found themselves on the wrong end of a 4-on-3 manpower advantage, and the Bulls cashed in when they worked the puck to Barber in the right-wing circle of the Peoria zone, and the former Rivermen center fired a shot past Di Salvo for a 5-4 score at 13:25 of the third. The Bulls tied the game with a 5-on-4 power-play when Harris fed a pass to Schultz, and Schultz put a shot past Di Salvo at 15:22 of the period.
The game remained deadlocked through the remainder of regulation and overtime, sending the game into a shootout tiebreaker. The first shooter for each team was denied before Barber zipped a shot past Di Salvo's glove for a 1-0 shootout lead. Peoria's second shooter and both team's third round attempts were denied. Bulls forward Taylor Dickin sent Birmingham's fourth-round effort through Di Salvo's five-hole, and Widmar was denied to seal the game, 6-5 for the Bulls.
Pulde started the game for Peoria and did not get a decision, stopping only one of three shots he faced between the pipes. Di Salvo takes the shootout loss as he turned aside 33 of 36 shots in the final 56:37 of gameplay before surrendering two goals in the shootout.
Notes: Pszenyczny recorded two assists to improve his team-best total to 33 for the season...Kalisz and Bruce each logged a goal and an assist for multi-point nights, marking the second straight multi-point game for Kalisz...Rivermen center Justin Greenberg tallied an assist to extend his personal point streak to seven games...The Rivermen return to action tomorrow afternoon when they travel to Macon, GA to conclude their three-game road weekend with a 3 PM CST showdown against the Mayhem...The broadcast of the game can be heard, starting with the pre-game show at 2:40 Central Time, at http://mixlr.com/peoria-rivermen/
Group, single game, and season tickets for Peoria's 35th season of professional hockey presented by Midwest Orthopaedic Center are on sale at the Toyota Box Office in the Peoria Civic Center, or by phone at the Rivermen office, located at 201 S.W. Jefferson Street, or over the phone at (309) 676-1040. For the latest Rivermen news and notes, follow online at www.rivermen.net or through Facebook (www.facebook.com/PeoriaRivermen) - Twitter
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Southern Professional Hockey League Stories from February 11, 2018
- Rivermen Snap Skid, Power Past Mayhem 6-3 Sunday - Peoria Rivermen
- Mike Moroso Scores for Second Straight Game in Defeat against Peoria - Macon Mayhem
- Rivermen Game Notes: Peoria Rivermen (23-10-3) at Macon Mayhem (21-10-5) - Peoria Rivermen
- Scorcia Nabs 3 Points, RiverKings Nab the Win - Evansville Thunderbolts
- Birmingham Stages Third Period Comeback to Down Rivermen 6-5 - Peoria Rivermen
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