12/15/2009 10:15 PM
PEORIA, Ill. – The Peoria Rivermen became the first team this season to beat the Grand Rapids Griffins outside of regulation, posting a 4-3 shootout win at the Carver Arena on Tuesday.
Michael Nylander, who played in his first game as a Griffin since October 30, figured in all three goals for Grand Rapids, while Jeremy Williams pushed his point streak to a season-high five games (2-4—6).
Once again, the Griffins (17-10-0-1) jumped out to a one-goal lead with a power play tally just 3:42 into the contest. From the point, Williams unleashed a blast that was knocked down by Ben Bishop, but Jamie Tardif was anxiously awaiting the rebound at the doorstep, where he slammed home his eighth goal of the season.
The Rivermen (16-10-1-2), came back to notch the equalizer at 7:29 of the period. Julian Talbot, who had failed on a golden opportunity just moments earlier, redeemed himself when he tapped in Mitch Love’s rebound from the left side of the goal crease. Peoria then used a power play to take a 2-1 lead when Lars Eller and Aaron Palushaj set up a quick give-and-go play in the slot, that ended with Eller placing a snap shot in the top right corner of the Griffins’ cage.
Grand Rapids answered 4:10 into the middle frame when Francis Pare continued his scoring surge with a rebound goal off Nylander’s shot from the right point.
Adam Cracknell gave Peoria it’s second lead of the game at 9:39 when he crashed the Griffins’ net to tip in a centering pass that came from Brett Sonne.
Down by a 3-2 count, the Griffins held Peoria to just five shots in the third period, while they were denied by Bishop on several quality scoring chances. Finally, with just 27 seconds remaining in regulation, Grand Rapids forced overtime when Patrick Rissmiller took a pass from Nylander for a one-time shot that he blasted to the top right corner of the net.
A five minute overtime session ended in a stalemate, setting up the final shootout drama.
Peoria jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the shootout, with goals from Palishaj and Talbot, while Pare, Nylander and Rissmiller each were denied by Bishop. Daniel Larsson flashed the pads to both Eller and Derek Armstrong, before Williams put a wrist shot into the top right corner of the net for the Griffins lone goal of the skills competition. Then, Peoria’s Barry Tallackson finalized a 4-3 score as the fifth shooter for the Rivermen.
Larsson made 25 saves for Grand Rapids, while Bishop stopped 27 shots in the win for Peoria.
The Griffins will head to Texas this weekend for a three-in-three series that begins on Friday with an 8:00 p.m. EST match with the San Antonio Rampage.
Three Stars: 1. PEO Talbot (goal, shootout goal); 2. GR Nylander (3 assists); 3. PEO Palushaj (2 assists, shootout goal).