RIVERMEN COME UP SHORT IN SHOOTOUT
Jolanda Jansma/Knoxville Ice Bears
The Peoria Rivermen and Knoxville Ice Bears fought neck-and-neck for more than 65 minutes on Saturday before David Segal scored the only goal of a nine-round shootout to lead Knoxville to a 2-1 victory at the Knoxville Coliseum. Rookie Garrett Vermeersch netted Peoria’s only goal early in the first, while Eric Levine (10-7-4) kept the Rivermen in the game all evening long with 35 saves on 36 shots.
With the loss, Peoria falls to 18-13-4 on the season, but picks up its 40th point and remains in fifth place in the SPHL standings. In addition, the Rivermen earned a point for their fourth straight game. Knoxville (14-16-4) snapped a six-game draught with the win.
For the full box score, click here.
For the fourth straight game against Knoxville, the Rivermen struck first at the 4:37 mark of the opening frame when Garrett Vermeersch grabbed the puck in the right circle and threw a pass intended for Parker Stanfield at the doorstep. However, the puck redirected off Hince’s leg pad and into the back of the net for Vermeersch's team-leading 20th goal of the season. Cole Ruwe and Steve Morra each notched an assist.
Less than six minutes later, the Ice Bears notched the equalizer when Jason Price collected the puck and pulled up at the top of the right circle at 10:15 With Jon Higgins crashing on goal, Price sent a wrister towards the net, where Higgins tipped it past Levine’s blocker for a 1-1 tie.
Following a scoreless middle frame, the Rivermen and Ice Bears took the deadlock late into the third period, where defenseman Jeremy Klaver hit the post off a faceoff with less than 10 seconds remaining. Though the goal light came on, the puck never cross the goal line and the game went beyond regulation.
Following a scoreless five-minute overtime session, the Rivermen entered their second shootout of the season and went 0-for-9 against Hince. Meanwhile, Levine stopped the first eight Knoxville shootout attempts he faced, but Segal deked the Rivermen goaltender and scored on the forehand for the game-winner with the ninth shot.
For Segal, the action picked up even before the opening faceoff, when he and Jarrett Rush were assessed 10-minute misconducts during warm-ups for inciting the opponent.
Knoxville outshot Peoria 36-24 in the contest, while the Rivermen went 0-for-4 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill. In fact, through the four-game season series against Knoxville this year, Peoria’s penalty kill went a perfect 15-for-15.
Hince (14-11-4) earned the win between the pipes for the Ice Bears after he made 23 saves.
Peoria concludes a three-game road trip on Tuesday with a 7:05 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.