WMBD-WYZZ-TV STAFF- PEORIA, IL - The Peoria Rivermen closed out their home schedule on Friday night with a 6-1 loss to the Charlotte Checkers. Adam Cracknell had the only goal for the Rivermen, while Justin Peters stopped 31 of the 32 shots he faced for the victory.
The loss allowed Charlotte the leapfrog Peoria in the standings and left the Rivermen in 11th place of the Western Conference standings. The top eight teams qualify for the postseason. The Rivermen have one game remaining - with the Chicago Wolves - on Sunday.
After they outshot the Checkers 14-10 in the first period, the Rivermen found themselves down 1-0 after the opening period. Bobby Sanguinetti scored his 10th of the year with just 16.4 remaining after he converted a two-on-one pass from Chris Terry.
The Checkers extended their lead at the 6:26 mark of the middle period when Drayson Bowman tapped his 13th of the year into an empty net. Sanguinetti led Jerome Samson with a pass to send him in on a breakaway. Samson was stopped by the pad of Allen, but he regained control of the puck and fed a wide open Bowman just outside the blue paint who slammed in the goal.
Peoria cut the Charlotte lead in half just 1:18 later while on the power play thanks to Cracknell's 22nd of the season. Patrick O'Sullivan carried the puck over the blue line from the left wing, cut to the slot, and backhanded a shot off the stick of Cracknell.
Charlotte took back their two-goal lead at 11:47 when Justin Krueger's wrist shot from the point found its way through traffic and off the crossbar and in.
The Checkers scored in the last minute for the second straight period and took a 4-1 lead when Matthew Pastilli beat Allen for his 12th of the year at 19:12.
Terry and Brett Sutter added goals in the third period to cap off a 6-1 victory for Charlotte. Sanguinetti had a goal and three assists to earn first star honors for the game.
The Rivermen close out the regular season in Chicago on Sunday at 4 p.m.