Rivermen streak done – Dayton veteran Ridolfi retires Peoria’s
PEORIA – Never mind the Peoria Rivermen being short-handed with only 12 skaters that logged time or having three new players on the bench and center Tyler Rennette sidelined with a bruised knee .
The Rivermen battled through a sluggish first period Thursday and outshot visiting Dayton 45-32, but the Bombers ended Peoria’s six- game winning streak with a 3-2 ECHL win at Carver Arena in front of 3,651.
“It’s going to take a while for the new guys to learn the system and feel comfortable,” Rivermen coach Jason Christie said. “But on the other side, we played a hard 60 minutes – we had two lines really.
“Guys were double-shifting, guys were battling and we outshot them. That’s just second effort.”
Peoria remained tied for second place in the Northern Division with idle Alantic City. Both teams play home games today and Saturday before the ECHL All-Star break.
“It’s kind of the end of the beginning,” Rivermen forward Bret DeCecco said of the team’s winning streak. “You’ve got to start a streak again. If we win six in a row again we’ll be right up top.”
Bombers right wing Brian Ridolfi scored the game-winner in the circle off Chad Theuer’s faceoff with 5:58 left.
Ridolfi a put a low wrister to the near post past Rivermen goalie Levente Szuper, who entered the game on a seven-game winning streak.
“Ridolfi shot it quick and I think he just surprised Szuper,” Dayton coach Jamie Ling said.
With Szuper pulled in the final minute, the Rivermen had quality chances to preserve their longest winning streak of the season, most notably Joe Vandermeer’s shot from the top of the circle that sailed high and right with 20 seconds left.
The Rivermen played from behind for most of the game.
Jake Wiegand opened the scoring with his third of the season at 5:31 of the first with a shot over Szuper’s glove from the high slot, when he took a pass from left wing Janne Jokila.
Peoria nearly tied it with a minute left in the first, but Scott Crawford’s pass slid through the crease and traffic without finding a stick.
DeCecco tied the game at 1-1 at 6:58 of the second off a shot two feet off the endline that deflected off Dayton goalie Bujar Amidovski’s stick and through his five-hole.
“There were no real bounces going our way,” said DeCecco, who also added an assist. “Nothing was going in and we had a lot of shots, so (eventually) one was bound to go in.”
Right wing Fraser Clair gave Dayton a 2-1 lead with 1:05 left in the second period with a one-timer from the high of the slot.
Dayton winger Michael Chin circled around Szuper’s net to the near side before finding an open Clair.
Adam Edinger tied it at 2-2 with 15:30 left in the third when Amidovski bit on Edinger’s fake to the left while coming out of the circle. Edinger easily placed it in the net.
River readings: After a 10-year hiatus, Darwin McPherson, a former Rivermen and Bombers defenseman, made his return to the Peoria bench as an emergency signee. The 35-year-old steam pipe fitter at CMI never left the bench. . . . Rivermen All-Star left wing Randy Rowe’s point-scoring streak ended at 11 games. . . . In his first game with Dayton, ex-NHLer Dody Wood didn’t wait long to earn his first penalty minutes with the Bombers. Wood, who had 471 penalty minutes in 106 games over six seasons (1992-98) with the San Jose Sharks, sat for a five-minute major for fighting at 11:29 in the first with Ken Goetz, who was making his Rivermen debut. after the team acquired him from Florence. . . . In nine home loses, including three in overtime, the Rivermen are averaging one goal. In eight wins at home, Peoria is averaging 4.63 goals. . . . The Bombers picked up 32-year-old Brian Ridolfi, who made his season debut Thursday, after he’d played 34 games for the Columbus, Ohio team that folded last week in the class- A UHL.
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