Story by Josh Redman
New Ulm, MN – The Peoria Mustangs kicked off their season long 10-game, 5-week road trip this past weekend making the trek to New Ulm, MN for out of division games against the New Ulm Steel. Friday night, the Mustangs grabbed an early lead to begin the contest. Later on, the Steel came back in the second period before the Mustangs tied the game late in the second and took the lead for good. The Mustangs never looked back in the third period and claimed a 7-3 victory.
Jaycob Bland got the scoring started fort the Mustangs just prior to the midway point of the opening period. Bland took a clearing feed from Jared Wisely and raced up the left-wing boards with the puck, Bland entered the zone and cut to the bottom of the circle when he fired a shot towards the net. The puck rattled off some skates before it slipped past Steel goaltender Zach Foster for the 1-0 Mustangs edge at 9:37 of the first period.
Peoria doubled their lead late in the opening period when Hubert Guzy flipped the puck deep in the Mustangs offensive zone, Ethan Chesney raced to the end wall and collected the puck. Chesney circled through the left circle and snapped a shot from the hash marks that whistled past Foster for the 2-0 Mustangs advantage at 18:45 of the opening period.
The Steel got on the board early in the middle frame when Conner Souza put the puck past Mustangs netminder Joe Ambroffi to cut the Mustangs lead to 2-1. New Ulm added a pair of goals late in the period, the first coming at 15:40 from Matt Zaruba to tie the contest at 2. The Steel took the lead less than two minutes later when Bauer Barry slipped the puck past Ambroffi and the 3-2 Steel lead.
The Mustangs tied the game a minute and forty seconds later off an offensive zone face off. Thomas Kayner won the draw and the puck slid back to an awaiting Hubert Guzy who promptly wound up and blasted the puck off the crossbar and into the back of the net at 18:46 of the middle frame to tie the game 3-3 heading into the second intermission.
Peoria grabbed the lead for good early in the final period, while skating shorthanded Chesney picked up the loose puck just atop the crease off a botched pass attempt. Chesney skated to the puck and flipped it over the glove of Foster for the 4-3 Mustangs edge at 2:08 of the final frame.
The Mustangs added to their lead when Jackson Gram notched his second of the season from Kayner just three and a half minutes after Peoria took the lead. Bland and Chris Kondiles added goals just past the midway point of the third period to seal the 7-3 road victory for the Mustangs.
Mustangs’ goaltender Joe Ambroffi earned the win between the pipes stopping 22 of 25 shots faced in the victory. With the win Ambroffi improves to 2-1-1 on the season and has won his last two starts in goal.
In the Saturday rematch the Steel jumped out to a 2-0 advantage early in the first period, Lahoussine Salama and Matt Zaruba scored goals for the Steel just 1:10 apart and grabbed the 2-0 lead for the home team.
Connor Henderson cut into the Steel lead late in the opening frame. Thomas Kayner won an offensive zone draw at the left dot, the puck slid back to Jared Wisely, Wisely then slid a pass across to Henderson who wound up and blasted the puck past Steel Goaltender Nolan Lacosse to cut into the Steel lead 2-1 at 15:58 of the first period.
The Mustangs tied the game prior to the midway point of the middle frame when Chris Kondiles stole a pass and shifted the puck up to a speeding Thomas Kayner, Kayner entered the zone, skated into the left circle and snapped a laser beam past Lacosse at 9:01 of the second period to tie the game 2 all.
Peoria grabbed the lead early in the final frame of regulation when Tristan Trudel fed Massimo Polistina who was parked on the doorstep. Polistina’s initial shot was stopped but, he grabbed his own rebound and slid the puck past an outstretched Lacosse for the 3-2 Mustangs edge at 3:32 of the final period.
New Ulm tied the game once again a little over two minutes later when Gus Cantwell scored his first of the season at 5:43 to knot the game at 3. The teams skated the remainder of regulation tied at 3, as well as a scoreless 5-minute overtime session. The game then descended into a sudden death shootout
Trudel had the only successful attempt for the Mustangs, Kayner and Chesney were both stopped. Ryler Schelle and Lahoussine Salama converted for the Steel, who took the shootout 2-1, and the 4-3 final score. With the shootout loss, the Mustangs fall to 3-3-2 on the season.
TJ DeMeulenaere suffered the tough luck loss between the pipes stopping 27 of 30 shots faced, stopping 1 of 3 in the shootout. With the loss, DeMeulenaere falls to 1-2-1 on the 2021/22 campaign.
Notes: The Mustangs had four skaters collect multi-point games Friday night, Guzy (1G+2A), Bland (2G), Kayner (2A), and Chesney (2G+1A GWG)…With his game winning goal, Chesney collected his second straight game winner Friday night…With an assist Friday and a pair of assists Saturday, Jared Wisely is riding a four game point streak…Connor Henderson’s game tying goal on Saturday is the first tally for the blue-liner since 1/25/20…With a goal and an assist Saturday, Thomas Kayner is riding back-to-back multi-point outings…The Mustangs return to action Friday night when they travel to Wausau, WI for a two-game series with the Cyclones…The games can be viewed live on HockeyTV, or by following along on the Mustangs social media platforms…Puck drop for Friday night’s game is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. CDT.