Game Recaps



Dennis Sievers/Peoria Rivermen


Kyle Rank stopped all 33 shots for his league-leading fifth shutout of the season on Friday, and backstopped the Peoria Rivermen to a 3-0 win over the Fayetteville FireAntz at Carver Arena. It was Rank’s first appearance against his former team since being traded to Peoria on Dec. 18. In addition, Garrett Vermeersch netted a pair of goals to lead the Rivermen, while Taylor Larsen scored the other.


With the win, Peoria improved to 21-14-4 on the season (46 points) and remains fifth in the SPHL standings. Plus, Rank extended his winning streak to five-games overall, while the Rivermen have now won five straight at home for the first time this year.




Peoria kicked off the scoring at 7:08 of the opening frame when Larsen grabbed the puck in the neutral zone, skated in and fired a shot from the right circle that beat Fayetteville netminder Peter Skoggard. The tally extended Larsen’s goal streak at home to four games.


Vermeersch extended Peoria’s lead at 6:33 of the second on the power play. Following a tripping minor to Derek Elliott, Parker Stanfield sent a pass to the top of the point where Vermeersch fired a slap shot past Skoggard’s glove. Stanfield and Cole Ruwe earned the helpers.


Peoria capped off the scoring at 18:36 of the second when Vermeersch stole the puck in the neutral zone and raced down the ice on a 2-on-1 break. As he approached the bottom of the right circle, the Rivermen rookie sent a wrister into the back of the net for his team-leading 23rd goal of the season and for the 3-0 final.


Peoria finished the game 1-for-2 on the power play and a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill. In addition, the Rivermen allowed two goals or less for the eighth straight game. Fayetteville outshot Peoria 33-25.


Rank is now 5-0-0 in his last five games with a 1.20 goals against average and .962 save percentage. Overall, the Islip, New York native is 13-5-0 with a 1.93 goals against average and .937 saves rate.


Skoggard (9-11-3) made 22 saves and suffered the loss.


The Rivermen continue a three-game weekend series on Saturday with a 7:15 p.m. rematch against the Fayetteville FireAntz at Carver Arena. Saturday is “Chicago Blackhawks Night” featuring an appearance by Hockey Hall-of-Famer Tony Esposito. Plus, the first 1,000 fans will receive a 2013 Stanley Cup Champions team photo and one lucky fan will take home an autographed Patrick Sharp jersey. Saturday is also $2 draft beer night. The game can be heard locally on CD Country 107.9 FM or online here. Fans can also follow along via the live video and audio stream at