RIVERMEN USE PENALTY KILL TO EDGE COLUMBUS 3-2
Dennis Sievers/Peoria Rivermen
Tyler Amburgey scored just 40 seconds into the first period on Friday and the Peoria Rivermen held a one-goal lead late to edge the Columbus Cottonmouths 3-2 at Carver Arena. In addition, Peoria’s penalty kill went 6-for-6 on the night and is now 22 for its last 22 overall.
With the win, Peoria improves to 19-13-4 on the season (42 points) and remains fifth in SPHL standings three points behind the Mississippi RiverKings for fourth. Plus, the Rivermen extended their point-streak to five games (4-0-1).
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS – BOX SCORE
From the right circle, Amburgey opened the scoring just 40 seconds into the game when a wrister redirected off a Cottonmouth’s body in front of the net and past goaltender Andrew Loewan. The tally was Amburgey’s fifth of the season and extended his point-streak at home to five games. Nick Prockow and Parker Stanfield collected the assists.
The Cottonmouths evened the game at 12:20 of the first courtesy of Dan Bremner’s sixth of the year. From the top of the right circle, Chris Bailer took a slap shot that Bremner redirected from the doorstep past Kyle Rank’s stick side.
The tie didn’t last long though as rookie sensation Garrett Vermeersch netted his team-leading 21st goal of the season at 15:11 of the opening frame. During a 2-on-1 rush, Morra fed the puck across to Vermeersch who found the back of the net on a snap shot from the right circle for a 2-1 Rivermen advantage. Morra notched the only assist.
The Rivermen took the lead for good at 7:46 of the second period when Taylor Larsen sent a pass to Prockow in the left circle, who delayed and played the puck back to Larsen in the low slot for a one-time goal. Prockow and Stanfield each recorded their second assists of the game.
Columbus cut its deficit to one just 15 seconds into the third period when Matt Gingera sent a pass across the top of the goalmouth to Jordan Draper who buried a one-timer for his 10th goal of the year.
With just 97 seconds left in regulation and still down a goal, Columbus pulled Loewen for the extra attacker and mustered up a number of golden chances, but never found the back of the net.
Between the pipes, Rank stopped 29 of 31 shots, including several big saves in the minutes, to earn his third consecutive victory. Loewen made 23 saves on 26 shots in the loss.
The Rivermen finished the game 0-for-4 on the power play, but allowed two or fewer goals for the fifth straight game and for the 12th time in their last 14 games overall.
Peoria concludes a two-game weekend series on Saturday with a 7:15 p.m. puck drop against the Columbus Cottonmouths at Carver Arena. Saturday is “Hat Night” presented by UnityPoint Health Methodist, where the first 1,500 fans will receive a special edition Rivermen hat. Plus, “Bottomless Popcorn Packs” are on-sale now, which include four upper bowl tickets and an endless tub of popcorn for just $36! The special can be purchased through the Rivermen office at 676-1040 or at the Peoria Civic Center box office.