Photo Credit: Noah Markunas
Mustangs gain one point on weekend, Cyclones ride home with 4
Peoria, IL – The Peoria Mustangs welcomed the Wausau Cyclones to the Owens Center for the first time this season. The Mustangs and Cyclones met for the 4th and 5th times, with their only previous meetings being in Wisconsin. Peoria entered the weekend outscoring the Cyclones by a 10-2 margin, and a 2-0-0 season series lead. Peoria was never able to gain positive momentum and exited the weekend only gaining a single point, and a pair of losses. With the losses the Mustangs drop to 19-10-2 on the season and remain in 3rdplace in the Central Division, one point ahead of 4th place Milwaukee.
Friday: PEO 3 – WAU 4 OT
Friday night the Mustangs fell behind early and responded with a trio of goals before the Cyclones tied the contest late in regulation to force overtime. In the overtime session Wausau took advantage of a miscue followed by a delayed penalty and collected the game winner early in the 3-on-3 overtime session.
The Cyclones opened the scoring early in the opening period when Gabe Randel tallied his 8th goal of the season. Randell took a feed from Ricky Nelson, streaked towards the net and snapped a shot past Mustangs netminder Cam Pendleton for the 1-0 edge at 3:02 of the first period.
The Mustangs responded 3:35 later when Joey Rancilio slipped a pass to Ethan Chesney who snapped a shot that whistled past Wausau goaltender Mitch Miscevich, into the back of the net, tying the game at one at the 6:37 mark of the first period.
Peoria increased their lead just 1:10 later when Tristan Trudel hammered a shot that sailed just past the right goal post, banked off the wall back to Trudel who stuffed it under a sprawled out Miscevich for the 2-1 Mustangs lead at 7:47 of the first period.
The Mustangs added to their lead in the late stages of the opening period when Chesney flipped a shot on goal from the left circle that zinged past Miscevich, lighting the lamp at 15:01 and a 3-1 Mustangs lead.
The two teams skated a scoreless middle frame and ¾ of the final period of regulation before the Cyclones drew within a goal, and eventually tied the contest late. Cael Bolton cut into the Mustangs lead at 17:04 of the period making it a 3-2 Mustangs lead. Isaac Baker tied the game at 19:17 while the Cyclones had the extra attacker on the ice. When the horn sounded to end regulation, the teams were knotted at 3 each sending the game into overtime.
The Cyclones wasted no time netting the game winner after a Mustangs turnover, Gabe Randel raced down the ice stride for stride with Addy Powell. Powell slowed the progress of Randel just enough for the referee to raise his arm for a delayed penalty. The puck trickled in front of Pendleton who couldn’t grab it and Chase Heckerson skated by and poked the dancing puck past Pendleton in a net front scramble at 1:12 of overtime and the 4-3 Cyclones triumph.
Cam Pendleton suffered the loss between the pipes in his 5th consecutive start. Pendleton stopped 34 of 38 shots and falls to 5-7-2 on the season.
Saturday: PEO 0 – WAU 6
Saturday night the Mustangs could never gain momentum and the Cyclones took advantage of the situation. Peoria launched 42 shots on goal, and all 42 were stopped by Wausau netminder Ryan Burke as the Cyclones skated out of Peoria with a 6-0 shutout over the host Mustangs.
The teams skated a scoreless opening period before the Cyclones broke the ice just 36 seconds into the middle frame, Ricky Nelson collected his 10th goal of the season from Gabe Randel and Gage Vierzba.
The Cyclones doubled their lead just past the midway point of the period when Hayden Shoemake netted his 11th of the season from Isaac Baker and a 2-0 Cyclones lead.
Wausau poured it on in the final period netting four goals, 2 in the first 5 minutes and another pair in the final 5 minutes of action. Cael Bolton and Gage Vierzba scored in the opening 5 minutes of the period and Zac Maupin and Josh Christofferson netted tallies in the final five minutes of the frame for the eventual 6-0 final score in favor of the visitors.
Joe Ambroffi suffered the loss between the pipes for the Mustangs stopping 23 of 29 shots faced, the loss, Ambroffi’s first since September 23, 2022, drops the netminder to 9-2-0 on the season.
– The Mustangs delighted Saturday nights crowd with some cantankerous behavior. Sam Truxaw exited the game with a fighting major just past the midway point of the second period.
– Chris Kondiles exited the game late in the middle period when he got ejected for abuse of officials. Kondiles had a scarp after teammate Ethan Chesney was cross checked in the face with no penalty.
– Tristan Trudel delighted the Mustangs bench and brought the crowd to a roar when he dropped the gloves with Wausau’s Adam Napravnik. Trudel landed a flurry or right hands to Napravnik’s chin, sending the crowd into a collective roar.
– The Mustangs have dropped their last 4 head-to-head with Wausau at the Owens Center dating back to March 4th and 5th, 2022, both 3-2 losses, one in overtime and one in regulation.
The Mustangs remain home as they welcome the Oregon Tradesmen to Peoria for the second time this season and the first time since the beginning of the campaign this coming Saturday and Sunday, 1/14 and 1/15. Saturday’s game is slated for a 6:30 p.m. puck drop, and a 1:15 p.m. start on Sunday. If you can’t make it out to the Owens Center you can catch all the action LIVE on HockeyTV, or by following along on Mustangs social media.