Photo Credit :Jeremie Allen
Peoria, IL – The Peoria Mustangs kicked off the 2022/23 NA2HL season this past weekend hosting the Milwaukee Power at the Owens Center in Peoria for a pair of Central Division contests. For the third straight season the Mustangs were excited to kick off the season on home ice. Both nights Peoria fell behind, but battled back to tie the game, and eventually move ahead and reign victorious in front of impressive weekend crowds. With the weekend sweep the Mustangs begin their season 2-0-0, 4 standings points and a first place tie with Rochester.
Friday: PEO 5 – MKE 1
Friday night the Mustangs fell behind just past the midway point of the opening period when Milwaukee’s Max Mudge fed a net front pass to Patrick Toomey, Tommey then stuffed the puck under the leg of Mustangs netminder Joe Ambroffi for the 1-0 Milwaukee edge at 8:05 of the opening stanza.
Peoria evened the score just prior to the midway point of the middle frame while skating with the man advantage. Tristan Trudel corralled the puck in his own end and skated around a defender slipped a pass to line-mate Ethan Chesney who raced through neutral ice and into the attacking end. Chesney worked his way into the slot and chipped a back hand shot towards the net that twirled around the crease and slipped past Power goaltender Connor Carroll to tie the game 1-1 at 7:35 of the middle frame.
The Mustangs gained the lead, and eventual game winner just 1:38 later while skating at 5-on-5. Joey Rancilio dropped a pass to Chesney just above the left circle, Chesney then tip toed his way to the slot and snapped a shot over the shoulder of Carroll for the 2-1 Mustangs edge at 9:13 of the second period.
Peoria added a trio of insurance tallies in the final period the first coming when Massimo Polistina deflected a Milwaukee pass right to a streaking Jaycob Bland. Bland corralled the puck, spun around a defender, and skated into the low slot, stepped across the top of the crease, and slipped the puck past Carroll and into the back of the net at 7:41 of the 3rdperiod for a 3-1 Mustangs advantage.
Peoria added a pair of goals in the ladder stages of the final period, the first coming from SP Merck, Merck took a Chesney feed at the hash marks, skated in, and chipped the puck just inside the left goalpost over the shoulder of Carrol at 11:55 of the third period. The 5thand final goal of the evening came while the Mustangs were skating with the man advantage. Chesney sauced a pass to a streaking Trudel in the high slot, Trudel skated in just above the hash marks and wristed a shot that whizzed past Carrol and into the back of the net at 13:44 of the period for the eventual 5-1 final score.
Joe Ambroffi earned the win between the pipes Friday night stopping 20 of 21 shots faced. The win, Ambroffi’s first of the season improves the netminder to 1-0-0 for the campaign.
Saturday: PEO 2 – MKE 1
Saturday night started just like Friday with the Power jumping out to a 1-0 lead before Peoria tied the game late in the first. The two teams skated a scoreless middle frame and Peoria eventually netted the game winner early in the third period.
Milwaukee opened the scoring early in the first period when Bryce Garber picked the puck off the left wing wall in the neutral zone, raced in with a Peoria defender in tow, and snapped the puck past Mustangs goaltender Cam Pendleton at 4:25 of the opening period for the 1-0 Power advantage.
The Mustangs evened the score late in the opening period when Ethan Chesney collected his own rebound, skated out of the attacking zone, and circled neutral ice. Chesney slipped behind the defender and raced to the net. Chesney then backhanded the puck under Power goaltender Connor Carrol to tie the game 1-1 at 16:53 of the opening frame.
Peoria got the eventual game winner early in the third and final period when Josh Chesney peeled the puck from the left corner in the Milwaukee end and slipped a pass to SP Merck at the blue line. Merck then sent a cross ice pass to JD Duenwald who was streaking towards the right circle, Duenwald received the pass and snapped a wrister past a screened Carroll for the eventual 2-1 final at 2:11 of the third period.
Cam Pendleteon earned the win between the pipes for the Mustangs, his first in a Peoria uniform. Pedleton stopped 23 of 24 shots faced in the victory, the win improves the Little Elm, TX native to 1-0-0 on the season.
-Joey Rancilio collected his first career point on Friday night, an assist on the game winning goal.
-Goaltender Joe Ambroffi earned his first win in his first start of the season. Ambroffi suffered a SOL and OTL in his first two season starts in 2020 and 2021.
-Peoria had 4 skaters earn a multi-point game Friday night.
-JD Duenwald picked up his first career goal, the game winner, in Saturday night’s contest.
-Peoria had an announced crowd of 1015 for Saturday night’s game.
The Mustangs remain at the Owens Center for a pair of games as they welcome the Oregon Tradesmen to Peoria this coming Friday and Saturday, the 16th and 17th. Both games are scheduled for a 6:00 p.m. CST face off. All games can be viewed on HockeyTV…