Mustangs Battle, Fall Short In Rochester

Photo Credit: Kyle Burt (Burtseye Photography)

Mustangs fall in regulation and shootout, gain single point on weekend

Rochester, MN – The Peoria Mustangs season long road trip continued this past weekend with a visit to the Rochester Recreation Center for a pair of games with Central Division leading Rochester Grizzlies. Friday night the Mustangs found themselves in a four goal deficit before netting their first goal in the middle period. The Mustangs clawed to within 3 but couldn’t draw any closer as they suffered a 7-4 loss. Saturday night the Mustangs grabbed an early lead in a see-saw affair, that descended into overtime, and eventually a shootout, where the Grizzlies prevailed by a 4-3 final score. With the loss and shootout loss on the weekend the Mustangs fall to 14-7-1 and remain in third place in the Central Division.

Friday: PEO 3 – ROC 7  

Friday night the Mustangs fell behind by a quartet of goals before they lit the lamp for the first time. Peoria clawed their way back into the contest before the Rochester power play unit dashed any hopes of a comeback. The Peoria penalty kill allowed four goals in the contest, when the final buzzer sounded the scoreboard read 7-3 in favor of the host Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies opened the scoring in the opening frame with a pair of tallies, Ben Oakland and Owen Van Tassel netted the goals in the opening 20-minutes and a 2-0 Rochester lead through the first period.

Rochester picked up where they left off in the second frame, netting a pair of tallies in the opening 6 minutes of action. Marco Sandelgard lit the lamp on the power play, and Leo Milan added to the Rochester lead and made it 4-0 at 5:57 of the middle period.

Peoria got on the board near the midway point of the stanza, shorthanded, when Perry Lagatuz picked off a Grizzlies pass in the Peoria zone. Lagatuz corralled the puck and sped up ice, through the neutral zone and into the Mustangs attacking end, past three defenders and raced in on goal. Lagatuz then lofted a backhander over Rochester netminder Kaleb Bents and into the back of the net for the shorthanded goal, cutting the Rochester lead to 4-1 at 9:08 of the second period.

The Grizzlies increased their lead later in the period when Zachary Laurila put the puck in the back of the Peoria net for a 5-1 Grizzlies lead at 12:42 of the second period.

The Mustangs once again cut into the Rochester lead in the late stages of the second, while skating on the man advantage. The Mustangs won a draw in their offensive zone and cycled the puck deep to Chris Kondiles. Kondiles spotted Ethan Chesney tip toeing towards the net and chipped a pass to his line-mate. Chesney received the puck just above the left circle and snapped a shot that sailed past bents, into the back of the net, cutting the lead to 5-2 at 16:50 of the second period.

Peoria cut deeper into the Grizzlies lead early in the final frame when Lagatuz connected once again on a shorthanded tally. Lagatuz poked the puck from an attacking Rochester forward and rushed up ice, poking the puck ahead, the puck slid into the Rochester zone and Bents came out to play it. Lagatuz poked the puck past a diving Bents and tapped the puck into an unprotected net cutting the Rochester lead to 5-3 at 6:43 of the final period.

Rochester padded their lead and coasted to victory with a pair of goals in the late stages of the contest, Lyncoln Bielenber-Howarth collected a goal at 7:01 of the period and Laurila netted his second of the game at 12:41 for the eventual 7-3 final score.

Joe Ambroffi started the game between the pipes and stopped 12 of 15 shots faced in 23:46 of ice time. Cam Pendleton came in in relief, stopping 20 of 24 and tool the loss between the pipes. With the loss Pendleton falls to 2-5-0 on the season.

Saturday: PEO 3 – ROC 4 (S/O)

Saturday night the Mustangs jumped out to an early lead and see sawed back and forth before the game went into an overtime session. The teams skated a scoreless 5-minute overtime and moved to a shootout. Ethan Chesney scored the lone goal in the shootout for Peoria, and Cam Pendleton turned aside 2/4 shots faced, but it wasn’t enough as the Mustangs fell for the first time in overtime or a shootout by a 4-3 final score.

Peoria wasted no time opening the scoring as Joey Rancilio netted the game’s opening goal just 2:48 into the contest on a feed from SP Merck. Merck poked the puck to a streaking Rancilio; Rancilio then danced around a defender and snapped the puck from the left dot on goal. The puck sailed past Rochester goaltender Chris Brown and into the back of the net for the 1-0 Mustangs edge at 2:48 of the opening period.

Rochester tied the game just past the midway point of the stanza with a power play tally, Lyncoln Bielenberg-Howarth put the puck past Cam Pendleton and into the back of the net for the 1-1 tie at 11:25 of the first period.

Peoria regained the lead in the middle frame while skating on the man advantage. Merck held the puck in the Peoria attacking zone and wristed the puck net ward, the puck sailed through the air and found the stick of Massimo Polistina who deflected the puck past Brown, into the back of the net for the 2-1 Mustangs advantage at 1:08 of the middle period.

Rochester tied the game and took a lead near the midway point of the third period when Bielenberg-Howarth netted his second of the game at 8:10, tying the game at 2 each. Rochester took their first lead of the night just 20-seconds later when Marc Sandelgard connected at 8:30 for the 3-2 Rochester lead.

The Mustangs once again made it a tie game after the 10-minute mark of the period when Ethan Chesney took a feed from Caleb Bross that slipped across the top of the crease, Chesney collected the pass with the goaltender prone, and chipped the puck into the unprotected net for the 3-3 tie at 12:47 of the middle period.

The teams skated the remainder of regulation as well as the 5-minute overtime session scoreless before the game descended into a shootout. Ethan Chesney scored in the opening round of the shootout, but it wasn’t enough as the Grizzlies connected in the second and 4th round’s taking the 4-3 shootout victory.

Cam Pendleton suffered the loss in goal stopping 44 of 47 shots and 2 of 4 in the shootout, with the loss Pendleton falls to 2-5-1 on the season.

Stable Notes:

-The Mustangs were whistled for 21 penalties on the weekend, Rochester was whistled for only 12.

-Declan McDermott, Connor Bruns, and Cam Pendleton all made their returns to the Mustangs lineup this past weekend.

-With a goal both games, Ethan Chesney is riding a 12 game point streak heading into this coming weekend action.

-Friday night, Perry Lagatuz earned his first career shorthanded goal, he liked it so much he added a second in the same contest.

-SP Merck collected a trio of assists on the weekend.

-In his first pair of games back, Caleb Bross had an assist in Saturday night’s game.

What’s Ahead:

The Mustangs remain on the road as they travel to Affton, MO for a pair of games with division rival St. Louis Jr. Blues at the Affton Ice Rink on Saturday 12/10 and Sunday 12/11. Saturday’s game is scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. puck drop, and Sunday is slated for an 11:00 a.m. start. You can catch all the action live on HockeyTV or by following along on Mustangs social media platforms.