RIVERMEN COMPLETE SWEEP WITH CONVINCING 4-0 WIN
Dennis Sievers/Peoria Rivermen
Parker Stanfield scored twice for the second time this weekend, while Kyle Rank notched his record-setting eighth shutout of the year, as the Peoria Rivermen completed a three-game sweep of the Mississippi Surge with a 4-0 win on Sunday. Stanfield (2g, 1a), along with forwards Garrett Vermeersch (1g, 2a) and Matt Viola (2a), each notched multiple points in the afternoon affair at Carver Arena.
Between the pipes, Rank (17-8-2) made 21 saves en route to his second shutout of the weekend. In doing so, Rank increased his SPHL record for single-season shutouts (eight) and has not allowed a goal in the last 122:23 of ice time overall. Plus, Rank is just two shutouts away from doubling the previous record (five), which was set by Louisiana’s Riley Gill last season.
With the victory, Peoria improves to 27-17-6 (60 points) on the season and moves into a tie with the Huntsville Havoc for third in the league standings. In addition, the Rivermen extended their point streak at home to 12 straight games.
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS – BOX SCORE
Peoria opened the scoring at 8:31 of the first when Rob Vanwynsberghe battled through the Surge defense behind the net and swatted a backhand shot from the left side. The puck caromed off the skates of goaltender Dan Clarke and slipped through the five-hole for a 1-0 advantage. The tally was Vanwynsberghe’s first with Peoria and his first in the SPHL. Dean Yakura notched the only assist.
Vermeersch extended Peoria’s lead at 15:55 of the first when the 24-year-old collected his team-leading 26th of the year. From the slot, Matt Viola fired a slap shot that was knocked down in front, then corralled by Vermeersch behind the net. Thinking quickly, Vermeersch played the puck off the back of Clarke’s left leg pad, which redirected into the net for a 2-0 lead. Viola and Stanfield each recorded an assist. With the marker, Stanfield now has points in 10 straight games at home. Viola on the other hand extended his point streak to five games overall (4g, 3a).
At the 2:40 mark of the second period, Peoria converted on a 2-on-1 break to take a three-goal advantage. From the left side, Vermeersch gained the zone and delayed before he found Stanfield at the back door for a one-time redirection. Vermeersch and Viola registered the assists.
Stanfield finalized his third career two-goal game at 4:44 of the second when he collected a loose puck at neutral ice and headed into the Mississippi zone on a breakaway. With only Clarke to beat, the California-native deked backhand-to-forehand for his 13th of the season. Vermeersch and Feniak notched the helpers. In addition, Stanfield’s second goal chased Clarke from the net, who finished the game with 15 saves on 19 shots. He was replaced by Dugas.
The game turned physical towards the end of the second period and into the third. With just four seconds remaining in the middle frame, Bill Baker was ejected on a game misconduct for verbal abuse of the officials after previously drawing a 10-minute misconduct for the same infraction. The third period saw three separate fights, including Taylor Larsen vs. Nate Peterson (1:42), Yakura vs. Luke Lynes (11:39) and Charlie Carkin vs. Lucas LaBelle (11:39). Overall, Mississippi finished the game with 59 penalty minutes, while the Rivermen had 29.
Peoria went 0-for-6 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill. Meanwhile, the Rivermen outshot the Surge 41-21, and 123-69 overall on the weekend. Stanfield alone recorded 29 shots, 38% of Mississippi’s overall total in the series.
The Rivermen return to action on Friday with their first-ever road trip to Pensacola, Florida. The puck drops at 6:05 p.m. CST against the Pensacola Ice Flyers, and 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.