Peoria, IL –The Peoria Mustangs welcomed the Rochester Grizzlies to the Owens Center for the first time this season for a two game weekend series. Heading into the weekend, the Mustangs were 0-4-4 head-to-head this season against their foes from Minnesota. Chris Kondiles got the scoring started on Friday night and Ethan Chesney netted the game winner as the Mustangs rolled to a 4-1 victory. Saturday night, fans were treated to more of a defensive battle as Ethan Chesney scored the lone goal of the contest as the Mustangs held on to capture the nail biter 1-0. With the weekend sweep the Mustangs improve to 19-9-3 on the season, two points behind second place Oregon.
Friday: PEO 4 – ROC 1
After a scoreless opening 20 minutes, Chris Kondiles opened the scoring early in the middle frame while the Mustangs were skating with the man advantage. With Rochester’s Austin Meers serving a slashing penalty, the Mustangs cycled the puck in their offensive zone. The puck cycled to Ethan Chesney who skated around a defender and sent the puck towards the net, the initial shot was turned aside by Grizzlies netminder Lucas Henderson but the rebound popped up above the goaltender. With the puck falling back to the ice, Chris Kondiles swatted and slapped the puck past Henderson and into the back of the net for the 1-0 Mustangs edge at 6:58 of the second period.
The Mustangs wasted no time adding to their lead as Chesney netted the eventual game winner just 37 seconds later when the Mustangs won a draw in their own end and the puck squirted to Jake Ratner. Ratner fired a long pass to Jared Wisely who raced through the neutral zone and into the attacking end with Chesney in tow. Wisely threaded a pass from the left circle to Chesney who was racing towards the net. Chesney collected the pass and chipped the puck just inside the right goal post for the 2-0 Mustangs lead at the 7:25 mark of the middle stanza.
The Grizzlies cut into the Peoria lead prior to the midway point of the second period when newcomer Lyncoln Bielenberg-Howarth lit the lamp with his first goal of the season while the Grizzlies were skating with the man advantage.
Peoria added a pair of goals in the ladder stages of the period, the first coming just past the midway point when Tristan Trudel netted his 12th goal of the season on the power play at 11:26 of the second period. And Jake Ratner rounded out the scoring for the home team with his 5th goal of the season at 18:39 of the middle frame.
Nahuel Veyan earned the victory between the pipes, stopping 31 of 32 shots faced in the contest, and withstanding a four-minute plus surge of 6-on-5 hockey to close out the game. The win, Veyan’s 6th consecutive improves the netminder to 6-1-1 on the season.
Saturday: PEO 1 – ROC 0
Saturday night, Peoria only needed one goal and a stellar outing from goaltender Andrew Doran to seal a 1-0 victory. Peoria score just seconds past the midway point of the opening period with a goal that proved to be the game winner. With SP Merck backpaddling into the Peoria zone he slid a pass up ice to Jake Ratner, Ratner chipped the puck off the dashers to Ethan Chesney who raced into the Grizzlies end along the right wing boards. Chesney zipped across the right circle and snapped a shot that whizzed by Rochester goaltender Nikola Goich’s blocker and into the back of the net at 10:06 of the opening frame for the 1-0 Mustangs lead and eventual final score.
Andrew Doran earned the victory between the pipes for Peoria, his third straight, stopping all 27 shots faced. With the win, Doran collected his 4th shutout of the season and improved to 5-1-0.
By The Numbers:
-With his win Friday night, Nahuel Veyan has collected 6 straight victories between the pipes
-Mustangs forward/defenseman Jared Wisely collected 4 points in Friday night’s win, all coming via the assist
-Jake Ratner earned his third multi-point outing in 27 calendar days Friday night and has 7 points in his last 5 outings
-Andrew Doran picked up his second straight shutout in Saturday night’s win, the Orchard Park, NY native has played a combined 120:19 of shutout hockey in goal
-The weekend sweep was the first for the Mustangs, they had never swept Rochester prior to this weekend
-With a goal Saturday night, Ethan Chesney has 5 points in his last two outings
The Mustangs travel to Affton, MO to square off against division rival St. Louis Jr. Blues. The first game of the two game weekend set is Saturday 1/15 with puck drop scheduled for 8:30 p.m. CST. The two teams conclude the weekend series Sunday afternoon 1/16 with a 2:30 p.m. CST puck drop. All games can be viewed on HockeyTV.