RIVERMEN DERAIL THUNDER IN HOME FINALE
Dennis Sievers/Peoria Rivermen
The Peoria Rivermen concluded the home portion of their regular-season schedule on Tuesday with a convincing 4-1 win over the Bloomington Thunder at Carver Arena. Joe Schiller led the way with a career-high three points (3a), while Taylor Larsen, Adam Hartley, Alex Mentink and Rob Vanwynsberghe each netted a goal.
With the victory, the Rivermen extended their point streak at home to 13 straight games and finished the season 19-6-3 at Carver Arena. In addition, the win closed out Peoria’s 17-game season-series against Bloomington, which the Rivermen took 10-7-0. Peoria also mathematically eliminated the Thunder from playoff contention.
Overall, the Rivermen improved to 29-18-7 (65 points, third place) and increased its lead over the Huntsville Havoc and Mississippi RiverKings – who are tied for fourth – to three points.
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS – BOX SCORE
Wasting little time, the Rivermen opened the scoring at 4:06 of the first period during a 5-on-3 power play. Following minors to Mike Henderson and Paul D’Agostino, Larsen grabbed the puck in the right corner and skated straight to the right post before his top-shelf shot beat netminder Max Strang glove-side. The goal was Larsen’s 14th of the year, while Cole Ruwe and Schiller earned the helpers.
Bloomington fought back to even the score at 10:29 of the first when Henderson received a pass at the bottom of the left circle from Harry Mahesh and beat goaltender Kevin Carr on a one-timer. Mahesh and D’Agostino notched the assists.
Hartley put the Rivermen on top for good when he jammed home a puck from the doorstep at 2:26 of the second. Schiller and Matt Viola registered the assists, the latter of whom earned a point for the eighth time in his last nine games.
The Rivermen made it 3-1 at 6:21 of the third when Ben Oskroba played a crisp pass from his own right circle to Mentink at the Bloomington blue line for a breakaway. As he approached the net, Mentink went forehand to the glove side for his second goal in as many games and his third of the year. Oskroba and Schiller notched the helpers, the latter of whom earned his first-career three-point game.
The scoring spree continued at 8:01 of the third when Vanwynsberghe made a nifty move around Curtis Megginson at the bottom of the right circle and scored top-shelf for a 4-1 final score. Mentink and Dean Yakura tallied the assists.
The Rivermen finished the game 1-for-6 on the power play and a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill. In addition, Peoria outshot Bloomington 25-21.
Between the pipes, Carr (2-1-0) made 20 saves and earned his second professional win, while Strang (9-13-1) denied 21 shots and suffered the loss.
The Rivermen faceoff in their penultimate game of the regular season on Friday with a 6:05 p.m. CST puck drop against the Fayetteville FireAntz at the Crown Coliseum. 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.