RIVERMEN BLANK THUNDER, 2-0 ON FRIDAY
Kyle Rank made 35 saves on Friday en route to his third shutout of the year as the Peoria Rivermen blanked the Bloomington Thunder, 2-0 at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum. Garrett Vermeersch and Justin Gvora each notched a goal for Peoria, as the Rivermen earned their ninth win in 12 games against the Thunder.
Overall, the Rivermen improve to 15-11-3 on the season (33 points) and remain fifth in the SPHL standings. In addition, Rank improves to 8-3-0 between the pipes, with two of this three shutouts coming against the Thunder. It was Peoria’s second SPHL shutout overall – both coming this month.
For the full game recap, click here.
Vermeersch opened the scoring at 18:18 of the first with his team-leading 18th goal of the year. From the near side, Tyler Amburgey found Vermeersch at the top of the slot, who collected the puck and ripped a shot past Bloomington goaltender B.J. OBrien. The goal was Vermeersch’s 14th of the year against the Thunder, and gives him at least one point in 12 of his last 13 Rivermen contests. Amburgey and Jeremiah Ketts earned the assists.
48 seconds later, the Rivermen extended their lead on the power play courtesy of Justin Gvora’s third of the year. Following a Bloomington bench minor for too many men on the ice, Charlie Charkin grabbed the puck at the top of the point and wristed a low shot on goal. OBrien made the initial save, but the second chance bounced to Justin Gvora on the right side who cleaned it up for the 2-0 final.
Bloomington outshot the Rivermen 26-21 through the final two periods, but could not solve Rank. With 1:08 remaining, the Thunder pulled OBrien for the extra attacker, but it did not pay off.
Overall, Bloomington outshot Peoria 35-33 in the contest, while Peoria finished the game 1-for-8 on the power play and a perfect 6-for-6 on the penalty kill.
Note: Rookie netminder Eric Levine did not dress on Friday as he was nursing an upper body issue. Instead, goaltender coach Brian Hamilton served as the emergency backup. No word on whether Levine will play this weekend.
Peoria continues its weekend series with Bloomington on Saturday with a 7:15 p.m. puck drop at Carver Arena. Loaded tickets are still on sale, which include a lower bowl seat, plus a hot dog, popcorn and soda for just $15. Loaded tickets can be purchased at 676-1040 or through the Civic Center box office. 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.