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Rivermen Blast Griffins 5-2 to Round Out Regular Season

April 11, 2009 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Peoria Rivermen News Release

PEORIA, Ill. (April 11, 2009) - The Peoria Rivermen put an exclamation point on their 92-point regular season with a 5-2 drumming of the Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday night at Carver Arena. A season-high crowd of 8,168 fans packed the stands to see Peoria remain unbeaten in regulation in their past nine games overall and their last 12 at home.

Steve Regier collected a goal and two assists to end the regular season tied with captain Trent Whitfield for the team lead in points with 50. Second-place Peoria will now wait and see whether they will host Rockford or Houston in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.

It only took Regier nine seconds into the Rivermen's first period five-on-three power play to net his team-leading 22nd goal. The left-winger sent a puck to the front of the net from the goal line and it deflected off of Jason Jozsa's skate and past Jordan Pearce at the 17:18 mark to give Peoria a 1-0 lead.

Peoria made it a 2-0 game 7:13 into the second period via a traffic pileup in front of the Grand Rapids' net. A loose puck was sent toward the cage and Griffins' defenseman Tom Galvin slid skates first into Pearce as all three ended up in the net. Jonas Junland was credited with his 13th goal of the season with Jim Jackson and Regier picking up assists amidst the chaos in the crease. Junland finished the season with six goals in six games against the Griffins.

The offenses heated up as both squads combined for five goals in the final 20 minutes in the regular season finale. Aaron Palushaj started things off, scoring his second goal in as many nights, from a stellar pass by Jori Lehtera at the 4:00 mark. Justin Abdelkader foiled Manny Legace's chance at a shutout 4:20 later with a power play goal from the heart of the slot to make it a 3-1 game.

Yan Stastny made it a three-goal lead again with a one-timer from Carl Corazzini at 10:08. And after a quick response from Grand Rapids' Francis Pare, Stastny potted another goal, his 12th of the season, on a breakaway backhander over Pearce's glove to make it 5-2. The Rivermen (43-31-2-4) finished the season with an impressive 4-2-0 record against Grand Rapids.

Peoria ruined the AHL debut for Pearce; the Grand Rapids goaltender surrendered all five goals, making 33 saves on the night. Legace finished with 32 saves.

Regier (1g, 2a), Junland (1g, 1a), Jim Jackson (2a) and Stastny (2g) all registered multi-point games Saturday night as Peoria ended its regular season going 12 consecutive games without a regulation loss at Carver Arena.

Alex Pietrangelo, the St. Louis Blues' first round pick (fourth overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, racked up four penalty minutes and one shot on goal in his Rivermen debut.

Goals weren't the only surplus item on Fan Appreciation Night. The exuberant crowd was also treated to 30 penalty minutes and 15 power plays.

The Rivermen will host game one of their first round playoff matchup next Wednesday at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the Peoria Civic Center Box Office, by calling (309) 676-1040 or online at www.rivermen.net/tickets.

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