SPECIAL TEAMS HELPS RIVERMEN SWEEP KNOXVILLE
Dennis Sievers/Peoria Rivermen
The Peoria Rivermen went 3-for-11 on the power play and a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill Saturday to defeat the Knoxville Ice Bears 4-1 at Carver Arena. Garrett Vermeersch (1g, 1a), Nick Prockow (1g, 1a) and Tyler Amburgey (2a) each notched a multi-point night, while Eric Levine (10-7-3) made 30 saves on 31 shots to earn his third straight win.
With the victory, Peoria improves to 17-13-3 on the season (37 points) and remains fifth in the league standings. In addition, the Rivermen completed the weekend sweep over Knoxville and are now 2-0-0 against the Ice Bears this season.
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS – BOX SCORE
The action picked up right from the get-go when three separate fights broke out on the opening faceoff, the longest of which included Adam Feniak and David Segal. The duo dropped the gloves and fought for close to 30 seconds, while Corey Fulton and Amburgey, as well as Brad Pawlowski and Aaron McGill did the same at separate parts of the ice. Both Feniak and Segal were assessed five-minute fighting majors, while Fulton served a two-minute roughing penalty and Pawlowski was given a two-minute instigator minor, a five-minute fighting major and a game misconduct.
The penalties set up a 5-on-3 advantage for the Rivermen just two seconds into the game, and Peoria capitalized when Jeremiah Ketts found Prockow at the back door for a one-time goal at the 1:00 mark. Prockow’s goal was his 14th of the year and his league-leading 10th on the power play. Ketts and Vermeersch earned the assists.
With just over two minutes left in the first, Knoxville winger Francis Drolet drilled the equalizer with his 13th goal of the year. At 17:56, Ben Power fielded a pass from the right circle and immediately sent it to Drolet at the door step, who one-timed a shot through Levine’s five-hole. Power and Eric Satim notched the helpers.
Following a scoreless middle frame, Vermeersch broke the tie at 4:35 of the third with Peoria’s second 5-on-3 power play goal of the game. Following minors to both Jon Higgins and Jeremy Klaver early in the third, Prockow started with the puck in the right circle and dished it to the blue line for Joe Schiller. The Rivermen defenseman immediately flipped it to Vermeersch at the top of the left circle, who went down to a knee and ripped a one-timer past Knoxville netminder Cody Rosen for his team-leading 19th goal of the season.
Another power play goal provided insurance for the Rivermen at 16:03 of the third when Taylor Larsen tipped in a Charlie Carkin shot from the left side to make it 3-1. Carkin and Amburgey collected the assists, the latter of whom is now on a five-game point streak (6a).
Just 50 seconds later, Peoria scored the final tally when Amburgey found Justin Gvora at the blue line with a perfect pass ahead, which led to a breakaway opportunity. As Gvora closed in on the net, the 27-year-old went forehand to backhand to beat Rosen five-hole for his fourth of the year. Amburgey notched the only assist.
The Rivermen outshot the Ice Bears 34-31 on the night to go along with their strong performance on special teams. In addition, Peoria now has a power play goal in each of its last 10 games and is seven for its last 27. Knoxville had 50 penalty minutes in the game, while Peoria had just 15.
Rosen (0-5-0) suffered the loss after he stopped 30 of 34 shots.
Peoria returns to action next Friday and begins a three-game road trip with a 6:35 CST puck drop against the Knoxville Ice Bears in Knoxville, Tennessee. 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.