By Brian Weidler, "Game Time" Prospect Department
WEEK IN REVIEW:
Three consecutive wins during the past week, and a 7-0-1-0 streak in their last eight games, have the Peoria Rivermen knocking on the door of first place in the AHL West Division.
Going into this afternoon's matchup with division rival Milwaukee, the Rivermen boast a 16-7-1-1 record for 34 points in 25 games, one point behind first-place San Antonio (17-6-1-0) in the West.
The perfect week for the Rivermen was capped off last night when PTO player Derek Nesbitt (at left) tallied with less than 14 seconds on the clock to force overtime in Cleveland. Ben Bishop shut the door during OT and the shootout, and recent NHLers Nathan Oystrick and T.J. Hensick tallied in the shootout to allow Peoria to escape with a 3-2 victory over the Lake Erie Monsters.
Earlier in the week, last Sunday, Jake Allen got the start in Grand Rapids and turned aside 36 of 38 Griffins' shots to kick off Peoria's brief road swing with a 3-2 victory. Enforcer Anthony Peluso tallied his first goal of the season for the Rivermen in the game, and Hensick and Stefan Della Rovere also scored in the win.
After a four-day layover, the Rivermen made their first trip north of the border in 2010-11, taking on Montreal farmhands Aaron Palushaj, Ian Schultz, Curtis Sanford and the rest of the Hamilton Bulldogs at Copps Coliseum. Allen again got the start, and rejected all but one of Hamilton's 30 shots on goal in a tight 2-1 victory.
Goaltending and penalty killing have been key to the hot streak that the Rivermen are currently riding. Over the last eight games, the Rivermen have put up seven wins and an OT loss, and outscored their opponents 21-10 with two shutouts. With three goals during the last week, rookie Phil McRae has climbed to third overall in team scoring with a 9-6-15 scoring line. Fellow freshman Mark Cundari leads the team, and is top ten in the entire league, with a plus-12 mark.
Bishop and Allen have combined for a 2.01 GAA and 93.6% save percentage to lead the AHL in goaltending after 25 games, and the Peoria penalty kill has been near-perfect during the point streak. In the last eight games, the Rivermen have successfully killed 43 of 44 penalties against, while capitalizing on 6 of 34 power play opportunities.
AFTER THE JUMP...:
After the jump, the skinny on this week's schedule for your Peoria Rivermen, as well as your links to news and notes from the previous week. Stay tuned...
THE WEEK AHEAD:
Dec. 5, 2010 ... Game Time 5:05 PM at Carver Arena, Peoria, Illinois. Milwaukee is the AHL affiliate of the Nashville Predators.
Dec. 11, 2010 ... Game Time 7:05 PM at Carver Arena, Peoria, Illinois. Grand Rapids is the AHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings.
RIVERMEN NEWS LINKS:
11-28-10 -- Rivermen rookies lead 3-2 win over Grand Rapids (Peoria Journal-Star).
12-01-10 -- Allen Earns Top Goalie Nod (The AHL (dot) com).
12-01-10 -- Rivermen get Hensick, Porter back from Blues; goaltender honored (Peoria Journal-Star).
12-02-10 -- Allen Taking AHL Shooters to School (The AHL (dot) com).
12-03-10 -- Peoria Freshmen Majoring in Chemistry (The AHL (dot) com).
12-03-10 -- Rivermen defenseman Cole heads to Blues (Peoria Journal-Star).
12-03-10 -- Russian 'rookie' joins Rivermen (Peoria Journal-Star).
12-03-10 -- Rivermen ride Allen to victory in goaltending duel (Peoria Journal-Star).
12-04-10 -- Rivermen rally with :13.5 left, beat Monsters 3-2 in shootout (Peoria Journal-Star).
BY THE NUMBERS:
SCHEDULE AND RESULTS:
|Game Date||Rivermen||Score||Venue||Opponent||Score||PEO Goaltender||Dec||Game Sheet|
|26 Nov 10||Rivermen||2||vs||Chicago||3||Bishop||OL||LINK|
|27 Nov 10||Rivermen||5||at||Rockford||0||Allen||W||LINK|
|28 Nov 10||Rivermen||3||at||Grand Rapids||2||Allen||W||LINK|
|03 Dec 10||Rivermen||2||at||Hamilton||1||Allen||W||LINK|
|04 Dec 10||Rivermen||3||at||Lake Erie||2||Bishop||W||LINK|
|05 Dec 10||Rivermen||..||vs||Milwaukee||..||..||..||..|
|11 Dec 10||Rivermen||..||vs||Grand Rapids||..||..||..||..|
|Yr To Date||Rivermen||68||Opponents||51||16-7-1-1|