Admirals fall to Peoria Rivermen 6-3

PEORIA -- Peoria’s Adam Cracknell scored a pair of goals to lead the Rivermen over the Milwaukee Admirals Tuesday morning in Peoria, 6-3. The game marked the third loss in four games on the Admirals road trip.

Admirals goalie Jeremy Smith was very busy as Peoria put 40 shots on goal. Smith stopped 34 of 39 in the loss.

Milwaukee struck first when Peoria defenseman Mark Cundari fumbled the puck near his goal. The puck was cleared to the right wing boards where Admirals forward Kyle Wilson grabbed hold. Wilson backhanded a pass to Chris Mueller above the crease and Mueller was able to flip his 19th goal of the season past Rivermen goaltender Jake Allen.

Peoria tied the game at 16:55 of the first period. Danny Syvret was able to fire a slapshot through traffic and into the net for a power play goal. Derek Nesbitt and T.J. Hensick notched the assists.

The Rivermen added another power play goal to take a 2-1 lead at 6:58 of the second period. Shaun Heshka held the zone at the left point and passed to the right for Cade Fairchild. Fairchild skated to the slot and drew the defenders before passing to the right circle where Phil McRae buried a one-timer for his 16th goal of the season.

Peoria took a 3-1 lead at 16:47 of the second. Brett Sterling exited the penalty box and picked up a loose puck at the left point. His shot was stopped but Adam Cracknell put the rebound into the net for his ninth goal of the season.

The Rivermen stretched the lead to 4-1 when Hensick converted a pass from Syvret at 4:42 of the third period.

Victor Bartley’s power play goal at 12:43 of the third period moved the Admirals within two. Juuso Puustinen passed from the left circle to Jon Blum at the left point. He fed the puck to Bartley for the one-timer.

Just one minute later Cracknell intercepted an errant clearing attempt and fired a shot from the right wing boards to give the Rivermen a 5-2 lead.

Milwaukee got back within two when Puustinen forced a turnover and deflected the puck to Ryan Thang. Thang pushed a backhander into the net for his tenth goal of the season and first since Dec. 16.

Peoria’s Jonathan Cheechoo scored an empty net goal with 36 seconds to play to seal the win.

Peoria is now 11-32 (34.4%) on the power play against the Admirals through eight match-ups this season.

Milwaukee returns home Friday, Jan. 27 to face the Chicago Wolves.