AHL Preview: Hamilton vs. Peoria


In the lone American Hockey League action this evening, the Hamilton Bulldogs travel to face the Peoria Riverman in a 7:05 PM CT matchup between conference rivals.

• Peoria: 11-11-2-2, 26 pts/26 games — 63 GF, 83 GA — 6-3-0-1 in last ten
• Hamilton: 10-12-1-1, 22 pts/24 games — 55 GF, 76 GA — 5-5-0-0 in last ten

The Rivermen are looking to extend a four-game winning streak, which dates back to December 9 and includes wins over Houston, Oklahoma City, Grand Rapids and Milwaukee.

After tonight, Peoria will play the next four games on the road, including two prior to the Christmas holiday and two after before the Rivermen close out the year with a home game against Abbotsford.

Left winger Evgeny Grachev is on a three-game point streak, with a goal and two assists in that stretch. Center T.J. Hensick leads the Rivermen in assists (16) and points (24), while rookie Jaden Schwartz leads the team with nine goals. Four players on the Peoria squad have a pair of power-play goals each.

Jake Allen has gone 7-10-2 in net for the Rivermen this season, allowing 59 goals against on 604 shots faced with a 3.12 GAA and .902 save percentage. Mike McKenna has also seen action in nine games, stopped 224 of 243 shots and holding a 2.57 GAA.

The Bulldogs are coming off a 4-3 loss to Milwaukee on December 16. Tonight’s game is the end of a four-game road trip, with the Bulldogs playing six more times before the end of 2012.

Rookie Brendan Gallagher leads the team in goals (7), assists (8) and points (15). His .62 points/game average is also best on the team. Center Gabriel Dumont has 11 points in 24 games, while a trio of players – Palushaj, Blunden and Bournival – each have 10 points on the season.

Four netminders have seen action for the Bulldogs this season, with Robert Mayer leading the charge. He’s 5-7-1 with 41 goals against in over 741 minutes played, with a 3.32 GAA and .884 save percentage. Cedrick Desjardins has two shutouts in his nine games played, going 5-4 overall.

Rookie Peter Delmas also played in three games for the Bulldogs, with Scott Darling netminding in just over 24 minutes of a single game this season, stopping all eight shots faced.

The teams split last year’s season series, each winning a game on the road. Peoria took the first matchup, 3-2 in a shootout, with Hamilton coming back for a 2-1 win later in the year. The Rivermen outshot the Bulldogs, 69-67, over the two games, which saw four different goaltenders in net between the teams.

Tonight’s game is the first of two matchups between the Bulldogs and Rivermen this season, with the other game coming on March 9 in Hamilton.