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River Readings, Nov. 6, 2011

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By Brian Weidler, "Game Time" Prospect Department


Allen wakes up as goal-scoring goes to sleep in tough divisional play

Nigro Faceoff

After exploding for five goals in five of six games over the previous couple of weeks, the Peoria offense has managed to scrape together only five goals total in three games this past week.

Only solid goaltending from both Jake Allen and Ben Bishop kept this week from being much worse for the Rivermen; as it is, the Rivs still limped to a 1-2-0-0 record for the week, with their last two games being identical 2-1 losses to division foes Chicago (on Friday) and Milwaukee (on Saturday). Only Thursday's 3-2 win over the Wolves, in which Anthony Nigro (pictured at left setting up for a faceoff) scored Peoria's first shorthanded goal of the year on a breakaway.

Bishop got the start on Thursday night, his third consecutive start and fourth in five games. The big man put on a clinic against Chicago, turning aside 28 of 30 shots and making goals by Nigro, Derek Nesbitt and Brett Sterling stand up for a 3-2 victory.

The next night, Rivs' coach Jared Bednar went back to second-year pro Jake Allen for only his fifth start of the season, and the pride of Fredericton, New Brunswick responded with his best performance of the season. Allen turned away 25 of 27 shots from Chicago sticks, but Peoria was able to solve Wolves' goalie Matt Climie only once in 30 tries. Nesbitt buried his sixth goal of the year at 6:19 of the second period, assisted by Sterling and TJ Hensick, to get the Rivs on the board in a 2-1 loss.

On Saturday, Bishop again got the call for Peoria, and again, the Rivermen failed to give him adequate goal support. Bishop did his part by stopping 29 of 31 Milwaukee shots on goal, but all the Rivs could manage on offense was an unassisted power-play tally by veteran Jonathan Cheechoo at 13:09 of the second period.

Here are video highlights from Peoria's only win this week, Thursday's 3-2 victory over Illinois Lottery Cup rival Chicago.

Peoria Journal-Star beat writer Dave Eminian talks to Anthony Nigro about his shorthanded goal (play starts at 0:39 of the above video) after Thursday's game.


Peoria 3 vs Chicago 2, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011.

Peoria 1 vs Chicago 2, Friday, Nov. 4, 2011.

Peoria 1 vs Milwaukee 2, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011.





Friday, November 11, 2011 ... Game Time 7:00 PM CDT at Carver Arena, Peoria, IL. NHL Affiliate: Chicago Blackhawks.

Saturday, November 12, 2011 ... Game Time 7:05 PM CDT at BMO Harris Bank Arena, Rockford, IL. NHL Affiliate: Chicago Blackhawks.


11/03/11 -- Rivermen edge Wolves, 3-2, thanks to special teams (Peoria Journal Star).

11/04/11 -- Rivermen attack dries up in 2-1 loss to Wolves (Peoria Journal Star).

11/05/11 -- Rivermen drop defensive duel, 2-1, against Admirals (Peoria Journal Star).