PEORIA, Ill. – The Griffins suffered their first regulation loss on the road with a 5-3 defeat at the hands of the Peoria Rivermen at the Civic Center on Saturday night. The Griffins (5-2-2-1) will try to rebound and pick up their second consecutive home win against the Houston Aeros at 12 noon on Tuesday, Nov. 11 in their Matinee Game.
Francis Pare recorded a career-high two assists to lead the Griffins offensively, while Jimmy Howard stopped 25 shots through two periods of work. Marek Schwarz recorded 14 saves in the winning effort for the Rivermen (7-4-1-0).
After a near-goal by the Rivermen was waved off early in the game, Grand Rapids responded when Jakub Kindl blasted a shot from the point inside the right post for a power-play goal at the 6:45 mark. During the play, there was a delayed penalty called against Peoria, so the Griffins took a 1-0 lead into another power play immediately following the goal.
Evan McGrath took advantage of the second power play to make Grand Rapids 2-2 on power-play chances early in the first. Pare walked the puck in from the right face-off circle and dished it to McGrath on the right side of the net. McGrath stepped out in front of the net and lifted a shot over the right shoulder of Schwarz to make the score 2-0 7:28 into the first.
On an odd-man rush at 13:11 of the first, Brad Winchester drove up the left side and passed it to Ryan Reaves on the opposite wing. Reaves came in on Howard, switched to his backhand and scored to bring the Rivermen to within one at 2-1.
Ryan Oulahen put Grand Rapids up 3-1 on the Griffins first penalty shot goal of the season. With the Griffins short-handed, Oulahen beat Jeff Woywitka to a loose puck in the Rivermen zone, forcing him to bring Oulahen down from behind at the 9:03 mark. On the penalty shot, Oulahen came straight in, faked to his forehand and his backhand before going back to his forehand to put the puck in the left side of the net for his fourth goal of the season.
The Rivermen got to within one with 2:22 left in the second period on a goal by Chris Conner. Conner took a long pass through the middle and broke in alone on Howard. His backhand shot from in close made the score 3-2. Just 1:50 later, Julian Talbot tied the game at 3-3 by poking home a loose puck in front of the net after a scramble during a power play.
After Daniel Larsson entered to start the third period, Tyson Strachan put the Rivermen ahead for the first time in the contest with 8:02 remaining. The puck came out from the right corner and Strachan unleashed a wrist shot that found its way through Larsson’s pads for a 4-3 Peoria lead. An empty-net, short-handed goal by Jonas Junland with 10 seconds remaining provided the insurance goal in the 5-3 Rivermen win.
Three Stars: 1. PEO Strachan (1 goal, 1 assist); 2. PEO Reaves (1 goal); 3. PEO Conner (1 goal)