STANFIELD NETS TWO AS RIVERMEN CLINCH PLAYOFF BERTH
Dennis Sievers/Peoria Rivermen
The Peoria Rivermen clinched a berth in the 2014 President’s Cup playoffs on Friday with a convincing 3-0 win over the Mississippi Surge at Carver Arena. Parker Stanfield scored twice for the second time this season, while Kyle Rank stopped all 21 shots and extended his SPHL record for single-season shutouts to seven.
With the win, Peoria (25-17-6, 56 points) joins Pensacola, Louisiana, Huntsville and the Mississippi RiverKings as the five teams who have clinched a playoff spot this season. In addition, the Rivermen have earned at least one point in 10 straight games at home.
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS – BOX SCORE
After a scoreless opening frame, Stanfield broke the deadlock at 16:38 of the second period with his 10th goal of the season. Charlie Carkin collected the puck at the left half-wall before he found Stanfield behind the net, who forced a quick wraparound past Mississippi goaltender Mathieu Dugas. Carkin and Matt Viola notched the assists.
The Rivermen increased their lead just 34 seconds into the third when Joe Schiller grabbed the puck in the slot and played it to Locke Jillson in the right circle. From there, Jillson sent a wrister top-shelf and into the back of the net for a 2-0 advantage. Schiller and Nick Prockow each recorded an assist.
Less than five minutes later, Stanfield netted his second goal of the contest at 4:58 during a Rivermen power play. Following a minor to Ian Boots for unsportsmanlike conduct, Garrett Vermeersch found Stanfield at the bottom of the left circle, who turned and scored from a tough angle. Vermeersch and Steve Morra registered the helpers, which gave Vermeersch a team-leading 50 points this season and at least one point in 10 straight games at home.
Rank (16-8-2) earned the win and extended his undefeated in regulation streak at home to eight games. On the flip side, Dugas (13-11-2) suffered the loss, but turned 40 shots aside. Overall, Peoria outshot Mississippi 43-21. It was the first time the Rivermen have produced at least that many shots since Nov. 21 vs. Pensacola. In addition, Stanfield mustered up 14 of those shots alone.
The Rivermen finished the game 1-for-6 on the power play and a perfect 6-for-6 on the penalty kill.
The Rivermen continue a three-game weekend series against the Mississippi Surge on Saturday with a 7:15 p.m. puck drop at Carver Arena. For tickets or more information, please call the Rivermen office at 309-676-1040. 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 www.americaonesports.com.