Led by resurgent goaltender Jake Allen, and by returned scoring leader T.J. Hensick, the Peoria Rivermen took a 3-1 win over the Chicago Wolves last night.
Hensick and Adam Cracknell each hit the 20-goal plateau for the Rivermen last night; former NHL goal scoring leader Jonathan Cheechoo, who now has 19 goals, scored the other Peoria goal. Allen turned aside 38 of 39 Chicago shots to claim the win, Peoria's fourth in a a row.
One of two things will happen. In the best case, Allen is inspired by the opportunity much like he was inspired by the opportunity to tend goal for Team Canada in the 2008 U-18 World Juniors, and he rises to the occasion with a solid gold shutdown performance as he did in the U-18’s.
...has opted for the best case. Since the Ben Bishop trade, Allen is 5-3-0 with a 1.98 goals-against average and a 94.1% save percentage.
The Rivermen are one point ahead of the Chicago Wolves and Charlotte Checkers for first place in the AHL Midwest Division, and currently hold the number three seed in the upcoming Calder Cup playoffs.
Peoria doesn't play again until next Tuesday, so their place in the sun will probably not last long as Chicago and Charlotte make up some of the games they have in hand on the Rivermen. But it's been a long time since Peoria was in first place this late in the season, so enjoy it while it lasts.