Photo Credit: Noah Markuna
Mustangs earn 2 points on weekend, get set to battle Lumberjacks
Peoria, IL – The Mustangs remained at home for the 3rd and 4th games of the brief four game homestand, this time welcoming the Oregon Tradesmen to town for the final time in the regular season. Saturday night Peoria grabbed an early lead, Oregon tied the contest, and the Mustangs pulled away in the final period for the 5-2 triumph. Sunday afternoon the teams skated a scoreless 40 minutes before the Tradesmen broke the ice, Peoria tied it up, but Oregon tallied a pair of goals late and skated out of the Owens Center with a 3-1 victory in the second game of the weekend series. With the weekend split the Mustangs sit 20-11-2, 42 points and remain 3rd in the Central Division.
Saturday: PEO 5 – ORE 2
Saturday night the Mustangs grabbed a lead late in the opening period, Oregon tied the game in the middle frame, and Peoria took over from there. The Mustangs netted a trio of goals in the third period to capture a 5-2 victory over the visiting Tradesmen.
Peoria opened the scoring in the late stages of the first period when Robin Kuusik spotted a streaking SP Merck. Kuusik slipped a picture perfect pass to Merck who snapped a shot through traffic from just above the hash marks that sailed over the glove of Oregon netminder Tyler Fromolz and into the back of the net at 16:52 of the opening period and 1-0 Mustangs advantage.
Oregon evened the score in the middle frame when Bryce Stensrud raced into the Peoria zone and snapped a shot that whizzed past Mustangs goaltender Cam Pendleton and into the back of the net at 8:14 and a 1-1 tie game.
The Mustangs regained the lead for good just minutes later Sam Truxaw raced through the neutral zone and swiped the puck into the Oregon end, Truxaw chased his own chip below the goal line and bumped the puck to JD Duenwald, Duenwald then spotted Joey Ranicilio racing towards the net and set a pass to Rancilio. Rancilio hammered a shot that flew over the shoulder of Fromolz and into the back of the net at 9:02 of the second period and 2-1 Mustangs edge.
Peoria added to their lead in the opening stages of the final frame when the Mustangs threatened with a flurry of shots atop the crease. The Puck found Ethan Chesney; Chesney flicked the puck towards the net just wide. The puck bounced off the end wall to Jaycob Bland, Bland skated the puck to the right side of the crease and spotted Chesney stationed just below the left circle. Chesney accepted the pass and snapped a back hander up and over the glove of Fromolz and into the back of the net at 5:57 of the final period and a 3-1 Mustangs lead.
The Tradesmen cut into the Mustangs lead just prior to the midway point of the 3rd period when Nathan Walker tallied his 11th goal of the season, unassisted at 9:25 and a 3-2 Mustangs lead.
The Mustangs added a pair of goals in the ladder stages of the third period, the first off the stick of Caleb Bross. Tristan Trudel shipped a nifty pass to Bross who lit the lamp at 12:37 and a 4-2 Mustangs lead. Peoria capped the scoring in the closing minutes when Massimo Polistina flicked the puck out of the Peoria end while Oregon had an extra attacker on the ice. The puck sailed through neutral ice and slid gracefully into the back of the unprotected net at 18:24 for the eventual 5-2 final score.
Cam Pendleton earned the win between the pipes stopping 41 of 43 shots faced, with the win Pendleton improves to 6-7-2 on the campaign.
Sunday: PEO 1 – ORE 3
The Mustangs and Tradesmen battled through a scoreless opening 40 minutes before Oregon broke the ice early in the final period, Peoria tied the game but, the Tradesmen scored a go ahead goal, and eventually put the cherry on top late in the game and skated out of the Owens Center with a 3-1 victory in the second game of the weekend series.
After a scoreless 40 minutes of action the Tradesmen broke the scoreless tie early in the final period when Carter Watters netted his 20th goal of the season with an assist from Isaac Nett giving the visitors a 1-0 lead at 4:58 of the 3rd period.
Peoria drew even just a little over a minute later while skating on the power play. With Oregon’s Dayne Deanovich serving a boarding minor the Mustangs cycled the puck in their attacking zone. The puck found its way to the right wing side to Tristan Trudel. Trudel tip toed through the right circle and sent the puck towards the net. Jaycob Bland was stationed just atop the crease and tipped the puck just past the leg pad of Oregon netminder Tyler Fromolz and into the back of the net at 6:06 of the final period and a 1-1 tie game.
The Tradesmen added a pair of tallies later in the period, the first coming a 6:57, Will Falconer tallied his 8thof the season while the Tradesmen were skating with the man advantage, giving the visitors a 2-1 advantage. The final goal of the afternoon came late in the final frame, Sam Knight tallied his 2nd goal of the season, once again on the power play, at 15:22 for the eventual 3-1 final score.
Cam Pendleton suffered the tough luck loss between the pipes stopping 26 of 29 shots faced, with the loss Pendleton falls to 6-8-2 on the season.
– Saturday night the teams combined for 20 minutes in penalties, below their per game average. Sunday afternoon the teams combined for 76 minutes total in penalties.
-After Saturday night’s win, Peoria briefly knocked Oregon out of first place, with Sunday’s win, the Tradesmen regained first in the central division.
-Collectively on the weekend the Mustangs were 1/10 on the power play, the penalty kill was 6/8 collectively in the pair of games.
-Saturday night the in arena sound cut out during Mustangs player introductions, and the national anthem was unable to be played. The Oregon bench began singing the Star Spangled Banner and the crowd soon joined in.
The Mustangs travel to Sauk Rapids to visit the Granite City Lumberjacks. This is the only trip of the season the Mustangs make to the Armadillo Deck Sports Arena for games the 20th and 21st, both slated for a 7:30 p.m. puck drop. Both games can be viewed on HockeyTV or by following along on Mustangs social media platforms.