Rochester, MN – The Peoria Mustangs hit the halfway point of their season long 10-game 5-week road trip this past weekend in a visit to Rochester, MN to face the Grizzlies. On Friday night, the Mustangs struck first but couldn’t maintain the lead as they fell 5-1 on Saturday. Rochester scored a pair of goals in the first period, Peoria drew within one, but couldn’t claw their way back into the contest. With the pair of losses, the Mustangs fall to 5-5-2 on the season as they head to Milwaukee to face off against the Power.
On Friday, the Mustangs got the scoring started just prior to the halfway point of the opening period. Massimo Polistina cleared the puck to the neutral zone where it was picked up by Jentzen Kaebel, Kaebel then banked a pass off the wall to a streaking Perry Lagatuz. Lagatuz raced through the neutral zone, down the right-wing side of the ice, through the circle and snapped a shot over the glove of Rochester goaltender Zach Wiese at 7:16 of the first period for the 1-0 Mustangs advantage. Rochester drew even in the closing stages of the first period when Adam Johnson put a shot on goal that was initially turned aside by Mustangs goaltender Joe Ambroffi, the rebound popped out above the crease and Ambroffi attempted to cover the puck, but Justin Wright corralled the fluttering puck and whacked it into an unprotected net at 18:59 of the first to tie the game at 1-1. The Grizzlies took the lead for good late in the middle frame off a face off. Mason Thingvold won the offensive zone draw for the home team the puck squirted to Tyler Ownby who found Logan Schwartzhoff. Schwartzhoff threw the puck wards the net the puck then found the stick of TJ Norris and skipped past Ambroffi for the 2-1 Grizzlies lead at 14:49 of the second period. Rochester added three goals in the final frame to seal the victory for the home team. Noah Roitman kicked off the scoring in the final frame, poking the puck past Ambroffi for the 3-1 lead at 3:51 of the final stanza. TJ Norris added a second goal and Kyle Bauer capped off the scoring with a power play tally at 15:56 of the third period for the eventual 5-1 final score. Joe Ambroffi suffered the loss between the pipes stopping 24 of 29 shots faced. With the loss Ambroffi falls to 2-2-1 on the season.
Saturday night, the Mustangs fell behind by a pair of goals in the first period and skated strong through 40 minutes before lighting the lamp in the third period. Rochester got the scoring started right before the midway point of the opening period when Logan Schwartzhoff found Kyle Bauer who jammed the puck past Mustangs netminder Nahuel Veyan at 9:20 of the opening period for the 1-0 Grizzlies edge. Rochester added to their lead in the latter stages of the period when Adam Johnson put the puck towards the net, Mustangs defenseman Sean Patrick Merck slid to block the shot, the puck glanced off Merck and slid past Veyan and into the back of the net for the 2-0 Grizzlies advantage at 16:04 of the 1st period. The teams skated through a scoreless middle frame before the Mustangs got on the board in the early stages of the third period. Peoria won the opening face-off and the puck slid to Jared Wisely, Wisely backhanded a pass up the left-wing boards. Jackson Gram chipped at the puck and slid it to Chris Kondiles, Kondiles raced up the left-wing wall into the circle and snapped a shot over the blocker of Grizzlies goaltender Kaleb Bents to cut the Rochester lead to 2-1 at :09 of the third period. Rochester added an insurance tally in the closing minutes while skating with the extra attacker. Cole Gibson to a pass from Austin Meers and raced up the left-wing boards and slipped the puck towards the net, the puck slid into the unprotected net at 19:00 for the eventual 3-1 final score. Newly acquired goaltender Nahuel Veyan took the loss between the pipes for the Mustangs stopping 17 of 19 shots faced in the contest. The loss drops Veyan to 0-1-1 on the season.
Notes: Lagatuz’s goal on Friday was the forward’s first goal of the season. The Mustangs were 0/3 on the power play Friday and they were afforded no opportunities in Saturday night’s contest. The Mustangs were a perfect 4/4 on the penalty kill Saturday night. The Mustangs put newly signed goaltender Nahuel Veyan to work, giving him his first start in goal as he stopped 17/19 shots faced in the start.
Up Next: The Mustangs head to Milwaukee for a pair of games against the Power next weekend at the Ozaukee Ice center in Mequon, WI. Friday night’s game gets underway at 7 p.m. and Saturday night’s game face off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. CST. Both games can be viewed on HockeyTV, or catch the action by following along on the Mustangs’ social media.