When the puck drops at 10 a.m., a slow start isn't unexpected, but the Chicago Wolves and Peoria Rivermen eventually got the pucks flying as the Rivermen shut out the visiting Wolves 2-0 in an AHL game at Peoria Civic Center Wednesday.
The early morning game, played before approximately 7,800 local school children, failed to produce much firepower from either side in the first period, but by the second frame there was a little more energy in players' steps. Peoria (19-19-2-2) got on the board on a score by left wing Andrew Murray, who worked his way through the Chicago defense to tap a puck past goaltender Joe Cannata at 16:47.
In the third period, the teams engaged in some fisticuffs. After Wolves forward Andrew Gordon landed a hard hit on Peoria's David Shields, Shields answered by dropping the gloves with Gordon, sending them both to the box.
Peoria made it 2-0 when Rivermen center Brett Sonne pounced on the puck and fired a bullet past Cannata (2-2-0) at the 3:30 mark of the third period.
Chicago (19-14-3-2) swarmed the Rivermen but failed to convert on their third-period power play chances thanks to a few stellar saves by Peoria goalie Jake Allen (11-15-2). Allen was equally impressive on a late-period save against Wolves forward Guillaume Desbiens, who took off on a short-handed breakaway. His shot was swiped by Allen to hold the Wolves without a goal.
Cannata finished the afternoon making 30 saves on 32 shots on goal. Allen stopped all 27 shots he faced.
Wednesday's game marked the first time this season the Wolves have been shut out on the road.