WE'LL TAKE SOME 'MORRA' THAT
Dennis Sievers/Peoria Rivermen
Steve Morra scored twice on Friday including the game-winner late in the third period as the Peoria Rivermen defeated the Knoxville Ice Bears 3-2 at Carver Arena. Between the pipes, Kyle Rank (9-5-0) made 29 saves on 31 shots and earned the win.
Overall, Peoria improves to 16-13-3 on the season (35 points) and remain in fifth place in the SPHL. Along with Morra, Garrett Vermeersch also notched a multi-point night with two assists.
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS – BOX SCORE
After a scoreless opening frame, Peoria began the scoring at 6:30 of the second period, thanks to Adam Feniak’s first goal of the season. Cole Ruwe possessed the puck at the left point and played a pass to Taylor Larsen in the crease. Larsen’s one-time shot forced a save out of Ice Bears netminder Bryan Hince, but he was unable to gather it as a scrum formed in front of net, which allowed Feniak to tap home the goal. Larsen and Ruwe were credited with assists on the goal.
The Rivermen doubled their lead on the power play only 64 seconds later when Steve Morra scored his sixth goal of the year at 7:34 of the middle frame. Jeremiah Ketts held the puck in the trapezoid and picked out Morra unmarked at the crease. Morra scuffed his initial one-timer, but kept his composure as he hit the puck in mid-air, effectively lobbing his shot over Hince’s right shoulder. Ketts and Vermeersch each picked up an assist.
The Ice Bears drew a goal back at 14:48 of the second when Ben Power converted on a penalty shot, which was drawn when Tyler Amburgey tripped Power from behind during a breakaway. On the free chance, Power deked from left to right and wristed a forehand shot past Rank for his 12th goal of the year.
Knoxville leveled the game at 2-2 when David Segal scored at 2:29 of the third period. Rank unsuccessfully attempted to clear the puck from behind his net and played a pass straight to Ice Bear winger Peter Neal. As Rank hurried back to the net, he was knocked over and slid to the left circle, which left an open goal for Segal at the low slot. Tom Craig and Neal earned the assists.
Peoria took the lead for good with only 4:57 remaining in regulation courtesy of Morra’s second of the game on the power play. At 15:03, Amburgey played a pass to Vermeersch at the top of the right circle, who immediately passed to Morra in the slot. Morra then swiveled towards goal and hit a left handed wrist shot past Hince’s stick-side. Vermeersch and Amburgey notched the helpers, giving the latter of the two a four-game point streak.
With 70 seconds to play, Knoxville pulled Hince from goal to gain a 6-on-5 advantage. However, the Ice Bears only produced two shots on goal, both resulting in saves from Rank, as the Rivermen clinched the win.
Knoxville outshot Peoria 31-30 on the night, while Peoria went 2-for-7 on the power play and a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill. In addition, the Rivermen have at least one power play goal in each of their last nine games.
Peoria concludes their two-game home series with the Knoxville Ice Bears on Saturday with a 7:15 p.m. puck drop at Carver Arena. Saturday is the final “Loaded Ticket Night” of the season, where fans can get a lower bowl ticket, plus a hot dog, popcorn and soda for just $15. 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.