Mike Connolly put the Lake Erie Monsters (27-24-2-7) on the board 20 seconds into Thursday's game, but the Peoria Rivermen (25-25-4-3) overcame the early deficit, defeating the Monsters 3-2 at Quicken Loans Arena. Thursday's game followed a Monsters 2-0 shutout win over the same Peoria team on Tuesday at The Q. Andrew Agozzino led the way Thursday with a goal and an assist for the Monsters, giving him the team's scoring lead with 41 points. The loss concludes an eight-game home stand for Lake Erie.
After a fight off the opening face-off between the Lake Erie's Daniel Maggie and Peoria's Stefan Della Rovere, Connolly took a centering feed from Agozzino and buried the first goal of the game to give the Monsters a 1-0 lead 20 seconds in. The goal was Connolly's seventh of the season, and was assisted by Agozzino and Luke Walker.
Peoria tied the game at 1-1 when Mark Cundari scored from the right circle on a five-on-three power play at 15:07 of the first period.
The Rivermen took their first lead 28 seconds into the second period when Derek Nesbitt one-timed a T.J. Hensick pass from the right circle past Monsters goalie Calvin Pickard, making the score 2-1 on the power play.
At 8:15 of the second period, Mike Sgarbossa found Agozzino open at the top of the Peoria crease, and Agozzino tapped home his 15th goal of the season on the power play, tying the score at 2-2. Markus Lauridsen also gathered an assist on the goal.
In the third period, Peoria scored the eventual game-winner at 7:37 when an Evgeny Grachev centering attempt deflected off Rivermen forward Trevor Lewis and over the goal line, making the score 3-2.
Pickard stopped 26 of 29 shots in net for the Monsters, and his record moves to 16-14-5 with the loss. Mike McKenna earned the win in net for Peoria, stopping 26 of 28 shots to improve to 12-10-1 on the season.
The Monsters are back in action Saturday night at 7:00 PM in Grand Rapids.