Story by Josh Redman
Blaine, MN – For the first time since the 2019 season, the NA3HL was able to conduct their annual winter showcase. The 2020 Showcase was canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic but was back on for the 2021 campaign. The Mustangs matched up with the Texas Roadrunners (South Division), Bozeman Icedogs (Frontier Division), and Willmar WarHawks (West Division). The Mustangs wrapped up the showcase going 2-1-0, and 17-9-3 record on the season.
Monday: PEO 2 – TEX 0
The teams skated a scoreless opening frame before the Mustangs broke the ice in the middle period of play while skating with the man advantage. With Roadrunners forward Jack Herron in the penalty box the Mustangs won an offensive zone draw. The puck cycled up high to Jared Wisely who slipped a pass to Thomas Kayner. Kayner then found Tristan Trudel in the left circle, Trudel received the puck and snapped a wrister that whizzed past Texas goaltender Hunter Hein and into the back of the net for the 1-0 Mustangs edge at :32 of the middle frame.
Peoria added an insurance tally later in the middle frame when Jackson Gram corralled the puck in the left corner and sent a pass above the circles to Jake Ratner. Ratner fired a shot towards the net that was knocked down by Jared Wisely, wisely then collected the puck on his stick and slipped a shot past Hein and into the back of the net for the eventual 2-0 final score at 13:57 of the second period.
Nahuel Veyan picked up the victory between the pipes stopping all 19 shots faced in the contest. The win Veyan’s 5th consecutive improves the netminder to 5-1-1 on the season.
Tuesday: PEO 5 – BOZ 0
The Peoria Mustangs got 20 saves from Andrew Doran and a pair of goals from Jake Ratner as they cruised to a 5-0 with over the Bozeman Icedogs in their second game of the NA3HL showcase.
Peoria opened the scoring early in the opening frame as Hubert Guzy snapped a shot on goal from just inside the blue-line. The puck sailed through the air and found the stick of Jake Ratner and deflected past Bozeman goaltender Liam Scott and into the back of the net for the eventual game winner at 4:26 of the opening period and the 1-0 Mustangs lead.
Ryan Callahan added a goal in the middle frame converting on a wraparound attempt at 8:09, then Ratner added his second of the contest in the closing minutes giving the Mustangs a 3-0 lead through 40 minutes of action.
The Mustangs wrapped up the scoring in the final period of play getting goals from Jared Wisely and Brett Anderson. Wisely tallied the 4th goal of the game, his 5th of the season at 7:02 and Anderson added his second of the season at 13:12 for the eventual 5-0 Peoria victory.
Andrew Doran earned the win between the pipes stopping all 20 shots faced in the contest. The win, Doran’s second consecutive and third shutout improves the Orchard Park, NY native 4-1-0 on the season
Wednesday: PEO 0 – WIL 2
The Peoria Mustangs and Willmar Warhawks met in the third and final day of the NA3HL Showcase, seeing the Warhawks prevail by a 2-0 final score. The Mustangs won their first two outings by a combined 7-0 score but, couldn’t find the back of the net on the final day as they were sent home with frowns on their faces suffering their second shutout loss in less than a week.
Joe Ambroffi took the loss between the pipes for the Mustangs stopping 27 of 29 shots in the contest. With the loss Ambroffi drops to 5-5-1 on the season.
By The Numbers:
-Nahuel Veyan collected his 2nd shutout of the season in Monday night’s 2-0 win, it was also Veyan’s 5th consecutive triumph.
-Tristan Trudel collected his 5th power play goal of the season in Monday’s victory.
-Andrew Doran earned his 3rd shutout of the season in Tuesday’s 5-0 win.
-Jake Ratner collected his second multi-goal game of the season in Tuesday’s game.
-With a goal and an assist Tuesday, Jared Wisely earned his third consecutive multi-point game.
-In Wednesdays 2-0 loss, the Mustangs suffered their second shutout loss in less than a week.
-The Mustangs outshot the opposition in two of the three games, Wednesday they tied Willmar in SOG with 29.
What’s Ahead: The Mustangs return home and take the holiday break before returning to action January 7th and 8th at the Owens Center. Peoria welcomes the Rochester Grizzlies to town for the first time this season. Friday night’s game gets underway at 6:45 CST and Saturday begins at 6:30 CST. Both games can be viewed live at the Owens Center, on HockeyTV, or by following along on Mustangs social media.