DAVENPORT, IA -- When Austin Busch was called for a holding penalty with 2:33 left in what to that point was a scoreless tie, it looked that the resulting Decatur power play might well decide the contest. Well, it did -- and it didn't. The winning goal was scored during the power play, but not by Decatur, as Kevin Dow found Center Josh Moon with a pass as Moon skated to center ice behind the Decatur defense. Moon walked in all alone and spoiled a great effort by the Flame goaltender by drilling a wrist shot for the winning goal with just less than two minutes to play. The win gave the Ice Eagles a two-game sweep over the visitors from Decatur in games played Saturday afternoon at the Quad Cities Sports Center. Summaries of the games follow.
In game one, which had been designated as the non-league game, both teams came out skating hard, and the game remained scoreless until midway through the first period, when Adam Derrick picked up Adam Oppendike's rebound and beat the goalie from close in. John Carr also had an assist on the goal. The game stayed that way until the middle of the second period, when Grant Reuter scored from just to the left of the net to run the count to 2-0, with Drew Carlson picking up the assist. The Eagles then appeared to have put the game out of reach in the final minute of the second, when Austin Busch scored the prettiest goal of the day on great passes from Moon and Reuter, making the margin 3-0.
But, Decatur proved it was up to the challenge when they scored twice within a 2:02 span in the third period to cut the gap to 3-2. When John Carr was called for interference at the 12:42 mark, it looked like Decatur would be pressing for the equalizer. But again, it was that man Moon, breaking out for an unassisted short-handed goal to regain the two-goal lead. Decatur kept up the pressure, outshooting the Eagles 13-8 in the third period, and the contest was not totally settled until Moon picked up his second of the game, an empty-netter, on assists from Busch and Jason Corcoran with 46 seconds left.
Referees Ron Wicks and Ted Stephens were busy, handing out fourteen penalties in the chippy contest, which unfortunately resulted in Drew Carlson being sent to the hospital with a shoulder injury. For the game, the Eagles outshot Decatur 23-20.
The second game, which did count in the CIHL standings, was one of the best of the season, with both teams playing with great intensity. The Eagles had a big territorial edge, and were badly outshooting the Flames, but the game remained scoreless, mainly due to the unbelievable work by the Decatur goalie, who had Eagle forwards shaking their heads as he stoned them shift after shift. Austin Busch had a handful of great chances, but he was denied on each attempt, including one quick wrist shot ticketed for the right corner that was snatched with a dazzling left glove save. This game could have gone either way, were it not for Josh Moon's last-minute shorthanded goal. The Flames were forced to pull their goalie during the last minute of play, and Dave Warta put it away with another empty net goal, with Kevin Dow getting his second assist of the game.
Ice Eagle Goalie Brandon Kruse picked up another shutout, his 12th of the season, but he had considerable help from his teammates who limited the Flames to just seven shots on goal, while they peppered the Decatur goalie with 37 shots.
The wins moved the Ice Eagles' overall record to 20-15-1, with their CIHL mark improving to 5-4. During the last two years, the Decatur-Quad Cities rivalry has been excellent. Although the Eagles hold a big advantage, (6 wins and 2 ties in the 8 games played), every game has been close. Decatur gets a chance to gain some revenge when the teams renew the series next week-end with games at Decatur Saturday night and Sunday morning.
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