PEORIA - Peoria's Blake Evans scored 1:43 into overtime to give the Rivermen a 7-6 victory over Toledo last night in an East Coast Hockey League preseason game.
The Rivermen slumbered through the first 50 minutes of the game as giveaways and defensive-zone breakdowns helped Toledo claim a 4-1 lead after the first period and a 6-3 lead after two.
“I think the guys were just nervous,” Rivermen coach Jason Christie said. “They kept waiting for somebody else to step up and do something.”
The Rivermen got a wake-up call at 10:32 of the third period during a scrum in front of the Toledo goal.
Peoria's Kory Karlander was blindsided by Toledo's Yuri Moscevsky. Trevor Wasyluk quickly jumped in for his linemate who was restrained by the linesmen as Moscevsky continued to go after Karlander.
“I have to stand up for my teammates,” Wasyluk said. “I was kind of ticked that they held me back while two guys were going after Kory.”
The scuffle gave the Rivermen a four-minute power play. Randy Rowe and Blaine Fitzpatrick each scored on the power play to cut the deficit to one.
Fitzpatick scored with 4:07 remaining in the third period to tie the score.
He corralled a loose puck and beat goaltender L.J. Scarpace to the stick side.
Fitzpatrick also found Evans in front of the crease in overtime. Evans put the puck over Scarpace for the victory.
The Storm scored 1:50 in the game when Ryan Baker, a late addition to the lineup, intercepted a clearing attempt by Peoria defenseman Kevin Tucker. Baker was standing all alone and was able to beat Curtis Sanford from the slot.
It was another giveaway and poor coverage that gave Toledo a 2-0 lead. A clearing attempt by Juraj Slovak was knocked down in the corner and worked to the front of the net. Richard Keyes left a drop pass that missed its intended target and trickled to unmarked defenseman Mark McMahon, who beat Sanford between the legs.