BIG SECOND PERIOD LEADS HAVOC PAST PEORIA
The Peoria Rivermen allowed three goals in the second period on Saturday, including two on the power play, and fell to the Huntsville Havoc 5-2 at Propst Arena. Rookie netminder Eric Levine (7-6-3) started the game, but was lifted midway through the second and suffered the loss. Garrett Vermeersch and Nick Wheeler notched the goals for the Rivermen.
With the loss, Peoria falls to 10-9-3 on the season and is now on a two-game slide. The Rivermen also fell one spot to sixth in the SPHL league standings.
For the full box score, click here.
Huntsville opened the scoring just 3:01 into the game with Leland Fidler’s fourth of the year. From the left point, Fidler grabbed a pass from Justin Fox and wristed a shot past Levine during even-strength hockey. Fox and Scott Harff were credited with the assists.
Peoria responded late in the opening frame on the power play when Nick Wheeler netted his sixth of the year. Following a boarding minor to Havoc captain Sam Cannata, Wheeler and Steve Morra both jammed away at a puck in the crease before Wheeler eventually forced the puck past Huntsville goaltender Jesse Kallechy at 18:53. Morra and Cole Ruwe recorded the helpers.
The Havoc took a commanding lead in the middle frame with three goals in a span of 9:01. Just 16 into the second, Josh Harris ripped a slap shot past Levine for a 2-1 Huntsville advantage. At 7:55, Nick Lazorko made it 3-1 with a power play goal on a wrister from the right side following a pass from Stuart Stefan. Less than two minutes later, Justin Cseter extended the Havoc lead with another power play goal on a slap shot from the top of the left circle at 9:17.
It was Cseter’s goal that chased Levine out of the net for the evening, as head coach Jean-Guy Trudel replaced the Wheeling, Illinois native with Kyle Rank at 9:17. Levine finished the game with 18 saves on 22 shots.
Vermeersch cut the deficit to a pair at 7:31 of the third when Adam Hartley found the rookie sensation alone in the slot, who then turned and beat Kallechy on a one-timer for his team-leading 14th goal of the year. In addition, Vermeersch is now on a career-high 10-game point streak. Hartley and Morra earned the assists.
Huntsville added the final goal of the game at 19:01 of the third when Kyle Frieday scored his first of the year on an empty net.
Kallechy earned the win for Huntsville after making 17 saves on 19 shots. Rank finished the game with a perfect 13 saves on 13 shots.
Peoria went 1-for-5 on the power play and 2-for-4 on the penalty kill. In addition, the Rivermen were outshot for the third straight game, 36-19 on Saturday.
The Rivermen conclude their four-game road trip on New Year’s Eve with a 7:15 p.m. puck drop against the Bloomington Thunder at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum. The game can be heard locally on CD Country 107.9 FM or online at www.cd1079.net. Fans can also follow along via the live video and audio stream at www.americaonesports.com.