Mustangs go 1-2-0 in Minnesota at Showcase
Blaine, MN – The Peoria Mustangs hit the road this past weekend for a trio of games at the annual NA3HL Showcase at the Super Rink in Blaine, MN. Peoria opened the three game weekend with an overtime victory over the East Division Long Beach Sharks, and concluded with a pair of losses, a 3-2 loss to the Louisiana Drillers and a 6-3 loss to the Mason City Toros. Peoria heads into the Christmas break in third place in the central division, 17-9-1.
Sunday: PEO 3 – LBS 2 OT
The Mustangs opened the showcase against the East Divisions Long Beach Sharks, the second time the clubs have met at the Showcase. Peoria played from behind, forced overtime, and eventually earned the victory in the early stages of the overtime session.
The two teams skated a scoreless opening period before the Sharks lit the lamp for the first time, Colin McPherren netted his 4th tally of the season in the early stages of the middle frame and Henry Slager double the lead prior to the midway point of the stanza.
Peoria cut the Long Beach lead in half just past the midway point of the middle frame when Caleb Bross tallied his second goal of the campaign, Perry Lagatuz and Massimo Polistina were credited with assists on the Bross goal.
Peoria eventually tied the game less than 4-minutes later when Ethan Chesney netted his team leading 18th goal of the season, from Polistina and Chris Kondiles. Through 40 minutes of action the teams were tied at two.
After a scoreless final period of regulation, the game descended into a 3-on-3 overtime session. The Mustangs controlled the play, cycled the puck in their own end and SP Merck dazzled when he spotted Polistina streaking towards the net, Merck slipped a picture perfect pass to Polistina who finished burying the puck in the back of the net and the 3-2 Mustangs victory at the Super Rink.
Joe Ambroffi earned the win between the pipes stopping 11 of 13 shots faced in the contest. The win, Ambroffi’s second consecutive improves the goaltender to 9-1-0 on the season.
Monday: PEO 2 – LOU 3
The Mustangs faced the Louisiana Drillers of the South Division in game two of the Showcase on Monday morning. Peoria jumped out to a quick lead then played from behind for the final 52 minutes of the contest.
Peoria opened the scoring just 43 seconds into the game when Massimo Polistina found the back of the net for his 11th goal of the season. Declan McDermott unleashed a shot from the blue line that glanced off Polistina’s stick and into the back of the net for the quick 1-0 Mustangs advantage.
The Drillers tied the game less that 60 seconds later when Kody Genz collected his first goal of the campaign, making it a 1-1 tie just 1:39 into the contest. Louisiana grabbed their first lead of the game prior the halfway point of the opening period when Frank Steinway tallied his 7th goal of the season and a 2-1 Drillers lead.
Louisiana increased their lead the 3-1 at the 12:00 mark of the middle frame when Aaron Lundgren netted his 2nd goal of the season, and first game winning goal of the campaign.
The Mustangs battled back but eventually fell short and drew within one in the early stages of the third period. Jaycob Bland scored his 11th goal of the season, Sam Truxaw and Justin Hubble were credited with assists on Peoria’s 2nd goal of the game. When the final horn sounded the Mustangs dropped game 2 at the Showcase by a 3-2 final score.
Cam Pendleton suffered the tough luck loss between the pipes stopping 24 of 27 shots faced, with the loss Pendleton falls to 3-6-1 on the season.
Tuesday: PEO 3 – MCT 6
The Mustangs rounded out the event squaring off against the West Division’s Mason City Toros, Peoria once again grabbed an early lead, but had to play from behind and eventually fell short by a 6-3 final score.
The Mustangs opened the scoring in the early stages of the opening frame when Henry Griffin took a pass from Robin Kuusik and raced into the Toros end and snapped a shot on goal that knuckled and sailed over the blocker shoulder of Connor Graham and into the back of the net for the 1-0 Mustangs edge at 2:44 of the opening period. Joshua Chesney was credited with a secondary assist on the opening goal of the game.
Mason City evened the score late in the opening period when Jordan Newpower collected his 8th goal of the season from Carter Newpower and Colin Hedland on the power play and a 1-1 game through 20 minutes.
Mason City added to their lead with a pair of second period tallies, the first at 3:16 from Cullen Hogan, assisted by Carter Newport and Colin Hedland. The Toros added to their lead just prior to the midway point when Hayden Segal tallied a power play goal from Hedland and Dakota Lenz and a 3-1 Mason City advantage.
Peoria cut into and eventually tied the game in the final period on a pair of Jaycob Bland tallies. The first goal from Bland came while skating on a power play and was assisted by JD Duenwald the second came at even strength and SP Merck was credited with the lone assist on the game tying goal.
The Toros regained the lead and eventually closed out the game with a pair of empty net tallies en route to the 6-3 victory. Hayden Segal tallied his second goal of the contest and Luke Robertson and Dylan Duckson rounded out the scoring for the Toros in the final frame.
Cam Pendleton suffered the loss between the pipes, stopping 37 of 43 shots faced. With the loss, Pendleton falls to 3-7-1 on the season.
The Mustangs remain on the road as they head back to Minnesota after the holiday break for a pair of games with the Rochester Grizzlies at the Rochester Recreation Center on December 30th and 31st. The December 30th contest is scheduled for a 7:05 p.m. face off and the 31st is slated to get underway at 3:05 p.m. Both games can be viewed on HockeyTV or by following along on Mustangs social media platforms.