Photo Credit: Dave Tester
Mustangs earn first ever sweep in Rochester, Drop Grizzlies in OT, regulation
Rochester, MN – The Peoria Mustangs made their third trip to the ‘State of Hockey’ this past weekend, visiting the Rochester Grizzlies for the second time in the month of December. The Mustangs were coming off back-to-back losses at the NA3HL showcase and exited the weekend with a pair of victories. The Mustangs prevailed in overtime on Friday night on a nifty goal from Ethan Chesney and finished the job in regulation Saturday night for a pair of wins in Rochester.
With the pair of victories, the Mustangs improve to 19-9-1 on the season and remain in 3rd place in the Central Division standings.
Friday: PEO 3 – ROC 2 OT
Friday night Peoria took an early lead, Rochester tied the game, and the Mustangs retook the lead all within the first 20 minutes of action before the Grizzlies tied the game at two in the second period. The teams skated a scoreless final frame before Peoria netted the game winner just past the halfway point of the overtime session.
Peoria opened the scoring while skating on the man advantage early in the first period. With Rochester’s Jake Lange in the box for boarding Joey Rancilio collected a Chris Kondiles pass below the goal line in the right corner. Rancilio spotted a streaking Caleb Bross and sent a crisp pass to his linemate, Bross chipped the pass over the blocker of Rochester goaltender Lucas Henderson, into the back of the net for the 1-0 Mustangs advantage at 7:58 of the first period.
Rochester evened the score just pas the midway point of the period when Luke Morrisette intercepted a pass and slipped the puck past Cam Pendleton for a shorthanded tally at 12:31, and a 1-1 tie game.
The Mustangs one again grabbed the lead while skating on the power play, this time Rochester’s Ryan Berglund was in the box for tripping. Peoria had possession of the puck in their attacking zone, SP Merck tiptoed the blue line towards the left wing boards and snapped a shot on goal, Henderson made the initial save but, the rebound popped out to Jaycob Bland who was station just inside the right circle. Bland collected the rebound and hammered it past Henderson’s glove at 13:50 for the 2-1 Mustangs edge.
Rochester once again tied the contest early in the middle period when Connor Stoffel tallied his 6th goal of the season at 4:55 of the second stanza and a 2-2 tie game.
After a scoreless final period of regulation, the game descended into the 3-on-3 overtime session. Rochester fired a shot on goal from the right circle that Pendleton kicked aside. The puck squirted right to Addy Powell who chipped it to Ethan Chesney. Chesney raced out of the Peoria zone with the puck, stride for stride with Powell. Chesney sent the puck to Powell as the two entered the Rochester end and Powell raced in on goal, at the last minute slipped a pass to Chesney who buried the puck past Henderson at 2:48 of overtime and a 3-2 Mustangs victory.
Cam Pendleton earned the victory between the pipes stopping 29 of 31 shots faced in the contest. The win, Pendleton’s second this season versus Rochester improves him to 4-7-1.
Saturday: PEO 4 – ROC 1
Saturday night began as a carbon copy of Friday, but the Mustangs pulled away in the third period and earned a weekend sweep as they skated to a 4-1 victory at the Rochester Recreation Center in Rochester, MN.
Peoria opened the scoring just prior to the midway point of the opening period off an offensive zone face off win. Beckett Doyle won a draw and the puck squirted out to JD Duenwald. Duenwald chipped the puck to the high slot to Justin Hubble who blasted a shot that sailed over the glove of Rochester goaltender Chris Brown at 9:55 of the opening period and a 1-0 Mustangs lead.
The Grizzlies even the score just past the midway point of the middle frame when Owen Van Tassel tallied his 7th goal of the season, putting the puck past Cam Pendleton at 11:37, tying the game a 1-1.
Peoria regained the lead and got the game winner early in the third period while skating on the power play. Tristan Trudel fired a shot from the left circle that was turned aside by Brown, the rebound popped out to Jaycob Bland who deposited the puck into the back of the net at 2:51 and a 2-1 Mustangs lead.
Peoria added a pair of insurance tallies in the final 1:12 of regulation, Ethan Chesney shipped a puck the length of the ice that gracefully slid into the back of an empty net at 18:48, for the 3-1 Mustangs lead.
SP Merck put the game out of reach with just seconds remaining on the clock and he lofted the puck out of the Peoria zone, the puck slid the length and rolled into the vacated Rochester net at 19:59 and the eventual 4-1 final score.
Cam Pendleton earned the victory between the pipes, stopping 25 of 26 shots faced in the contest. The win, Pendleton’s second straight over the Grizzlies improves the Little Elm, TX native to 5-7-1 on the campaign.
– With the pair of weekend victories, the Mustangs earned their first ever sweep in Rochester.
-Saturday afternoons win is the first regulation win for the Mustangs in Rochester since 1/22/21.
-Cam Pendleton won back-to-back starts for the first time this season.
-Jaycob Bland had nifty power play goals both nights, Saturdays held up to be the game winner.
-Saturday afternoon, Ethan Chesney and SP Merck netted empty net goals that sailed the length of the ice, Merck’s tally came with 1 second remaining in regulation.
-For the first time since 2018/19, the Mustangs end the calendar year with back-to-back victories.
The Mustangs return home for the first time since November 20th as they host the Wausau Cyclones for the first time this season, January 6th, and 7th. Friday night’s game is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. puck drop with Saturday’s scheduled for 6:00 p.m. Both games can be viewed on HockeyTV or by following along on Mustangs social media platforms.