PEORIA, Ill. -
The Peoria Rivermen defeated the Houston Aeros
6-4 in Game One of the West Division Semifinals Wednesday night at Carver Arena. Yan Stastny
had two goals and an assist and Danny Richmond
and Justin Fletcher
each recorded a pair of assists in the win. Four different Aeros scored goals and both Krys Kolanos
and Corey Locke
each recorded a goal and an assist in the loss. The teams will meet up again Friday night for Game Two at Carver Arena.
Peoria built a 2-0 lead after the opening 10 minutes of the first period. Stastny banged home a rebound at the 7:36 mark to give the home team a 1-0 lead. Trent Whitfield
wristed a shot from the slot that bounced off Aeros’ goaltender Anton Khudobin’s left shoulder and Stastny put the rebound into the back of the net. Steve Regier
made it a two-goal lead on a power play goal at the 9:48 mark when he snuck the puck between Khudobin’s legs in a scrum in front of the Aeros net.
Houston bounced back and tallied a power-play goal at the 14:03 mark to cut the lead in half before going to the first intermission. Maxim Noreau
scored his first professional playoff goal on a blast from the point, and Peoria’s goaltender Manny Legace
never saw it as he was screened. Locke and Tony Hrkac
assisted on Noreau’s goal and the first period ended with a 2-1 Peoria lead.
The Rivermen continued the pressure in the second period and scored two more goals just 22 seconds apart. Jonathan Filewich
passed the puck from behind to the net to Cam Paddock
who was on the doorstep and Paddock redirected it under the pads of Khudobin for the 3-1 lead. Just 22 seconds later, at the 9:37 mark of the second, Stastny scored his second of the game when he picked up a loose puck at the top of the slot and beat Khudobin blocker side for the 4-1 lead.
The Aeros entered the third period down three goals, but after the first 1:22 of the period, the team was down just one goal. At the :25 mark, Locke buried the Aeros’ second power-play goal on a pass from Matt Beaudoin
as they came in on a rush, and Locke beat Legace as he went right to left. Then, at the 1:22 mark, Kolanos scored an unassisted goal as he came in from the right circle and lifted his shot over the shoulder of Legace. That would be as close as the Aeros would get.
Only one minute later, Jori Lehtera
scored when he tipped a Ivan Vishnevskiy
shot and gave the Rivermen a 5-3 lead. Carl Corazzini
made it 6-3 at the 7:12 mark of the final period to all but put the game away. His goal came on assists from Julian Talbot
and Alex Pietrangelo
Houston put 18 shots on net in the final period compared to 13 in the first two periods combined. Robbie Earl
made it a 6-4 game with 44 seconds remaining, but it was too little too late for the visiting Aeros.
The teams finished tied with 31 shots apiece, and Houston killed seven of the eight penalties against them while scoring two goals on five chances. Peoria netted a pair of goals in each of the three periods respectively and five of the six goals were even strength.
- The ten goals combined were the most in an Aeros’ playoff game since the 2003 Calder Cup Finals against the Hamilton Bulldogs when the teams also combined for 10 goals in a 6-4 Aeros victory. The 10 goals is tied for the most in a playoff game in franchise history, a feat accomplished a total of four times.
- The loss to the Rivermen marked the Aeros’ first loss to Peoria in the playoffs. Houston swept Peoria in the only other playoff matchup in 2006.
- Houston has a playoff series record of 1-3 after losing the first of a seven-game series.