Photo Credit – Noah Markunas
Mustangs dominate 3rd period Friday, slug-fest Saturday
Peoria, IL –The Peoria Mustangs welcomed the division leading Rochester Grizzlies to Peoria for the first time this season for a showdown of mega proportions. Rochester came into town Friday sitting in first place, Peoria snagged first for a day, and the Grizzlies bussed home back atop the Central division. The Mustangs scored first both nights and dominated play Friday night, and the teams played an absolute thriller Saturday that ended with a Mustangs loss. With the weekend split, the Mustangs sit 5-3-0, 10 standings points, second in the Central Division.
Friday: PEO 4 – ROC 1
Friday night the Mustangs opened the scoring, Rochester tied the game late in the opening period and the teams skated a scoreless second period. The Mustangs came out in the final period of regulation and dominated as they netted a trio of goals, two of which were 12 second apart, and Cam Pendleton was sturdy between the pipes stopping all but one shot on goal as Peoria danced to a 4-1 victory over their foes from Minnesota.
The Mustangs opened the scoring just prior to the midway point of the opening period of play. Caleb Bross and Massimo Polistina were battling for the puck in the Grizzlies zone, against the end wall, when bodies went flying. Chris Kondiles swooped in, tip toed behind the net, backpedaled down the goal line and snapped the puck net ward. The puck fluttered over the right shoulder of Grizzlies goaltender Lucas Henderson and into the back of the net at 8:07 of the first period for the 1-0 Mustangs edge.Rochester tied the game late in the opening frame when Ben Tschida received a pass from Owen Van Tassel. Tschida was station atop the right side of the crease and whacked a point blank shot past Cam Pendleton at 19:04 of the first period, tying the game 1-1.
After a scoreless middle frame, the Mustangs came out swinging in the final period. It took all of 45 seconds for Peoria to light the lamp. Tristan Trudel found Jaycob Bland zipping out of the Peoria zone and fed a pass forward. Bland corralled the pass in the neutral zone and sped into the attacking end flanked by Ethan Chesney. Bland raced net ward, cutting towards the crease, faked a pass to Chesney, and slipped the puck past Henderson, into the back of the net, giving the Mustangs a 2-1 advantage at the :45 mark of the final period.
Peoria added to their lead just 12 seconds later, after a center ice face off. The Mustangs won the face off, and promptly cycled the puck into their attacking end. Polistina cycled the puck to the right-wing boards to Kondiles, Kondiles then poked the puck up to the blue line where Zach Lacasse was patiently waiting. Lacasse side stepped a defender and rifled a shot through traffic that zipped by Henderson, into the back of the net for the 3-1 Mustangs lead at :57 of the third period.
Peoria rounded out the scoring prior to the midway point of the final frame when Justin Hubble fired a shot on goal that ran into a bystanders posterior on its way net ward. The puck skipped to Trudel who immediately hammered a shot towards the net that scorched by Henderson at 9:47 for the eventual 4-1 final score.
Cam Pendleton earned the win between the pipes stopping 31 of 32 shots faced, with the win Pendleton improves to 2-1-0 on the season.
Saturday: PEO 1 – ROC 2
Saturday night was a carbon copy of Friday for the exception of the outcome. Peoria scored early, Rochester tied it up and got the eventual game winner late in the third period.
Peoria opened the scoring for the second night in a row, this time while skating on the power play. With Rochester’s Austin Meers serving a slashing penalty Ethan Chesney found Tristan Trudel who was hustling into the neutral zone. Trudel received the pass from E. Chesney and raced into the attacking end, cut across to the right dot, and snapped a shot that jetted past Rochester goaltender Tate Cothern and into the back of the net at 2:30 of the first period and 1-0 Mustangs edge.
The Grizzlies evened the score in the latter stages of the period when Luke Sawicky lofted a shot from a sharp angle, the puck nestled itself between the goal post and Cam Pendleton and squeaked into the back of the net at 15:38, tying the game a one.
Once again, the teams skated a scoreless middle period, and a majority of the final frame before Rochester netted the game winner in the late stages of the third period. Rochester defenseman Tyler Huffer chipped a pass to Lyncoln Bielenberg-Howarth, Bielenberg-Howarth entered the Peoria zone and tiptoed above the left circle and snapped a shot that sailed over the left shoulder of Pendleton and into the back of the net at 13:49 of the third period and eventual 2-1 final score.
Cam Pendleton suffered the tough luck loss between the pipes stopping 32 of 34 shots faced in the contest. The loss drops the Little Elm, TX native to 2-2-0 on the campaign.
-Cam Pendleton started back-to-back games for the first time in his Mustangs career, collectively on the weekend Pendleton stopped 63 of 66 shots.
-Entering Saturday night’s game, Peoria had 9 skaters with points in back-to-back games.
-With three points on the weekend, Tristan Trudel now has points in 3 straight games dating back to 9/24 at Oregon. In that span Trudel has collected 4 goals and 2 assists.
-With an assist Saturday night, Ethan Chesney has points in three straight outings dating back to 9/24 at Oregon. In that span Chesney has accumulated 4 assists.
-In Friday night’s game forward Caleb Bross was awarded a penalty shot, Bross dazzled the crowd with a slick move, but was unable to convert on the attempt.
-Peoria has opened the scoring in three consecutive contests.
The Mustangs remain home for their next weekend series as they welcome an opponent from the West Division, Granite City Lumberjacks to the Owens Center for a pair of games October 6th and 7th. Both games are scheduled for a 6:00 p.m. CST puck drop, if you can’t make it out to the Owens Center you can catch all the action live on HockeyTV.