ROSEMONT, Ill.---The Chicago Wolves and Peoria Rivermen battled to a shootout for the second time in three days, but it was the Rivermen who came away with the 5-4 victory at the Allstate Arena Friday night.
With the game knotted at 3-3, right wing Spencer Machacek collected the puck at the Wolves blueline and shipped it up the ice to center Riley Holzapfel, who pulled up and ripped a shot past Peoria netminder Ben Bishop to put the Wolves ahead, 4-3, with 3:29 left to play, but Peoria wasn’t finished.
Right wing Derek Nesbitt roofed a shot from the right circle with 1.5 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the score, 4-4, and send the game into overtime – the fourth straight meeting between the Wolves and Rivermen that has gone to extra time.
Forwards Tim Miller (2G) and Ryan Garbutt also scored in regulation for Chicago (34-25-3-6), which slipped two points out of the fourth and final playoff spot in the West Division with the shootout loss.
“We looked a little loose at the start of the third period, but other than that I thought we controlled the game,” said Wolves Head Coach Don Lever. “This was a battle right to the end and they just found a way tonight.”
The Wolves came out of the gates firing, taking a 1-0 lead nine seconds into the game. Defenseman Artus Kulda got the puck out of the face-off and sprung Garbutt out on a breakaway. Garbutt’s shot bounced off Peoria netminder Ben Bishop’s pads, but Miller came streaking in and knocked it past Bishop.
Peoria (36-24-2-5) retaliated 12 seconds later to knot the score, 1-1, 21 seconds into the game. A rebound flew up in the air in front of the net and right wing Akim Aliu spotted it amidst a scrum in front of the net, reached in and pushed it past Wolves goaltender Edward Pasquale.
The Rivermen jumped ahead 2-1 at 7:40 of the opening frame when Dave Spina stickhandled into the slot and dropped a pass off to right wing Graham Mink, who flipped a shot past Pasquale, top-shelf.
The Wolves answered with a power play goal to even things up again, 2-2, at 10:13 of the first period. Right wing Darren Haydar shipped a pass across the top of the zone to defenseman Mark Matheson, who wound up and slapped a shot that Miller tipped by Bishop, five-hole.
Garbutt put the Wolves on top, 3-2, 45 seconds into the second period. Kulda fired the puck up the ice and Garbutt caught it at the blueline, drove down the slot, muscled past a Peoria defenseman and cranked a shot past Bishop.
Bishop (16-12-2) turned aside 26 shots for the Rivermen and stopped four of six Wolves attempts in the shootout.
Peoria drew even once again, 3-3, with a shorthanded goal with 51 seconds remaining in the second period. The Wolves lost control of the puck and Spina picked it up and moved in on a two on one with right wing Tyler Shattock, who took a pass and ripped a shot past Pasquale.
Pasquale (7-6-1) posted 20 saves for the Wolves and thwarted three of six shootout attempts.
The Wolves take on the Rockford IceHogs at the Rockford MetroCentre on Sunday at 4 p.m.
Peoria 2 1 1 0 (1) -- 5 Shootout
Chicago 2 1 1 0 -- 4
First Period---1, Chicago, Miller 8 (Garbutt, Kulda), 0:09; 2, Peoria, Aliu 5 (Scatchard, Nesbitt), 0:21; 3, Peoria, Mink 20 (Spina, Langkow), 7:40; 4, Chicago, Miller 9 (Matheson, Haydar), 10:13 pp. Penalties---Della Rovere, Peoria (hooking), 8:45; Shattock, Peoria (interference), 15:52.
Second Period---5, Chicago, Garbutt 16 (Kulda, Haydar), 0:45; 6, Peoria, Shattock 3 (Spina), 19:09 sh. Penalties---Mink, Peoria (interference), 15:51; Pelletier, Peoria (delay of game), 18:31.
Third Period---7, Chicago, Holzapfel 8 (Machacek, Sifers), 16:31; 8, Peoria, Nesbitt 16 (Peltier, Cundari) 19:58 sh. Penalties---Holzapfel, Chicago (holding), 1:36; Oystrick, Peoria (instigating, fighting, misconduct), 13:55; Garbutt, Chicago (interference major, game misconduct), 13:55; Deveaux, Chicago (hooking), 19:35.
Shootout---Peoria: Cundari, made; Nesbitt, miss; Aliu, miss; Pelletier, made; Mink, miss; Ricci, made. Chicago: Davies, miss; Krog, miss; Machacek, miss; Matheson, made; Esposito, made; Haydar, miss.
Shots on goal---Peoria: 6-7-9-2-1--25. Chicago: 13-9-7-1--30. Power plays---Peoria: 1-2. Chicago: 1-5. Goalies---Peoria, Bishop (26-30). Chicago, Pasquale (20-24). A---7,314. Referee---Jeff Smith. Linesmen---Craig Kneale and Al Stensland.