By Brian Weidler, "Game Time" Prospect Department
WEEK IN REVIEW:
EVERY POINT COUNTS IN TOUGH AHL WEST PLAYOFF RACE:
The bad news is that the Rivermen for the second week in a row won only one game out of three. The good news is that the win came at the right time, against the San Antonio Rampage, a team that Peoria absolutely must take points from in order to stay in the tight AHL West playoff race.
With 73 games played, the Rivermen are locked in a struggle with Chicago and Oklahoma City for the last two playoff spots in the Western Conference. Peoria is currently seeded fourth in the conference, while the Wolves are fifth and would cross over to play North Division leader Lake Erie if the playoffs began today. OKC, despite having the same number of points (83) as both Peoria and the Rivermen, are currently on the outside looking in due to having one less regulation win (36) than Chicago (37), and two less than Peoria's 38.
Veteran defenseman Tyson Strachan (shown at left) has been up and down between the Blues and Rivermen all season; he played two games with the Rivermen this week, and chipped in three assists. His veteran presence and ability to chip in offensively at this level will be a boon to Peoria in their playoff push.
Prospect forward Jay Barriball skated in his first pro game for the Rivermen on Saturday. While Barriball did not get on the scoreboard, his hard-nosed play brought a spark to the club overall, andhe was on the ice for the game-winning goal scored by Nick Drazenovic. Note the clip of the Drazenovic goal above, and you'll see Barriball going hard to the net right from the get-go in his pro career.
Veteran defenseman Nathan Oystrick has now served four games of his six-game assessed suspension fromn the AHL for leaving the bench to participate in a fight in a game vs. Chicago back on March 11.
Courtesy of the Rivermen and the Peoria Journal-Star, here are some highlights from Peoria's 2-0 shutout win over San Antonio on Saturday night.
THE WEEK IN REVIEW:
Peoria 3 vs Lake Erie 4, Sun, Mar 20, 2011.
Peoria 2 vs San Antonio 4, Fri, Mar 25, 2011.
Peoria 2 vs San Antonio 0, Sat, Mar 26, 2011.
THE WEEK AHEAD:
Sunday, March 27, 2011 ... Game Time 4:05 PM at Carver Arena, Peoria, Illinois. NHL Affiliate: Montreal Canadiens.
Friday, April 1, 2011 ... Game Time 7:00 PM at AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas. NHL Affiliate: Phoenix Coyotes.
Saturday, April 2, 2011 ... Game Time 7:00 PM at AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas. NHL Affiliate: Phoenix Coyotes.
RIVERMEN NEWS LINKS:
03/20/11 -- Rivermen rally falls short against Monsters, 4-3 (Peoria Journal-Star).
03/23/11 -- Rivermen: Strachan returns, Hensick to leave (Peoria Journal-Star).
03/25/11 -- Rivermen need to get on a rampage (Peoria Journal-Star).
03/25/11 -- Rivermen fade to 4-2 loss against Rampage (Peoria Journal-Star.
03/26/11 -- Rivermen edge Rampage before 9,531 (Peoria Journal-Star.