Wausau, WI – The Peoria Mustangs made their final visit of the regular season to Marathon Park to square off against the Wausau Cyclones. Entering the weekend, the Mustangs were a perfect 4-0-0 against Wausau in the 2021/22 campaign. On Friday night the Cyclones jumped out to a first period lead and the Mustangs could never find their footing as they fell 3-2 for their first loss head-to-head against Wausau this season. With the loss, Peoria falls to 6-6-3 on the season.
Wausau got the scoring started just prior to the midway point of the opening period, Gage Vierzbea took a feed from teammate, Wesley Coquet who was stationed below the goal line. Vierzba collected the pass and snapped in the high slot and danced above the left circle where he snapped a shot over the glove of Mustangs goaltender Andrew Doran at 9:03 of the opening period for the 1-0 Cyclones advantage.
The Cyclones doubled their lead just 1:58 seconds late while skating with the man advantage. With Mustangs defenseman Justin Hubble serving a tripping penalty Wausau’s Hayden Shoemake took a short pass from Luke Anderson and skated to the high slot and snapped the puck past the glove of Doran for the 2-0 Cyclones lead at 11:01 of the first period.
The Mustangs cut into the Cyclones lead in the closing seconds of the first period when Jackson Gram picked the puck off the end wall and slipped a pass to a streaking Jared Wisely. Wisely collected the puck and skated just above the crease and poked a shot that was initially turned aside by Cyclones goaltender Zach Dosan, the puck skipped right back to Wisely who stuffed it past Dosan to cut the Cyclones advantage to 2-1 at 19:21 of the first period.
The Mustangs tied the contest in the middle frame when Chris Kondiles stole a Wausau pass in his offensive zone. Kondiles tiptoed between the hashmarks and snapped the puck over Dosan’s blocker to tie the game 2-2 at 13:46 of the second period.
Wausau tallied the game winner 3:05 after the Mustangs knotted the score in the second period when Pavel Bakhtin snapped the puck past the glove of Doran from the right circle at 16:41 for the eventual 3-2 final score.
Andrew Doran took the loss between the pipes, stopping 24 of 27 shots faced. With the loss, Doran falls to 1-1-0 on the season.
Saturday night, the Mustangs fell behind again, fought back and tied the game, eventually took the lead, then needed extra time to seal the victory in Marathon Park. The win Saturday night improves the Mustangs to 7-6-3 on the season.
Wausau wasted no time scoring the game’s first goal, as much like Friday they scored while skating with the man advantage. With Sean Patrick Merck serving a too many men bench minor Zac Maupin fired a shot that rang off the goal post, Mustangs goaltender Nahuel Veyan was out of position when the puck bounce right to Derek Cagel, who snapped the puck past Veyan for the power play goal and 1-0 lead at 3:12 of the opening frame.
The teams skated nearly 47 more minutes before another goal was scored, and that goal belonged to the Mustangs. Ethan Chesney snapped a shot on goal, the shot was turned aside by Cyclones goaltender Mich Miscevich, the puck squirted to Hubert Guzy who promptly snapped the puck past Miscevich to tie the game 1-1 at 12:00 of the third period.
Peoria grabbed their first lead of the weekend 2:07 later when Jaycob Bland corralled a Mustangs face-off win. Bland snapped the puck over the shoulder of Miscevich for the 2-1 Mustangs advantage at 13:07 of the third period.
The Cyclones tied the game late in the third period when Gage Vierzba stuffed a rebound past Veyan to tie the game 2-2 at 14:45 of the third period.
The two teams skated a scoreless 3-on-3 overtime session before the game was decided by the shootout. Ethan Chesney and Zac Maupin both scored in the second round of the shootout, before Jared Wisely snapped home the game winner in the 4th round to secure the 3-2 Mustangs victory.
Nahuel Veyan earned the shootout victory between the pipes for the Mustangs stopping 37 of 39 shots faced as well as 3 of 4 shooters in the shootout, with the win he improves to 1-1-1 on the season.
Notes: Friday night Andrew Doran suffered his first career loss in a Mustangs uniform. The Orchard Park, NY native is 9-1-0 lifetime with the Mustangs. Nahuel Veyan picked up his first career victory as a Mustang Saturday night. Chris Kondiles is riding a 5-game point streak dating back to 10/30 at Rochester…Jared Wisely is riding a 3-game point streak dating back to 11/6 at Milwaukee. The Mustangs finished the 10-game road trip 5-3-2, and earned 12 of a possible 20 points.
Up Next: The Mustangs head home and will play at the Owens Center for the first time since October 9th. The Mustangs welcome the New Ulm Steel to town for a pair of out of division games, puck drop is 7:15 Friday night.