RIVERMEN CLINCH THIRD PLACE WITH 4-2 WIN
The Peoria Rivermen scored four straight goals over a span of 30:19 on Friday en route to a 4-2 win over the Fayetteville FireAntz at the Crown Coliseum. With the win, Peoria clinched the third seed and home-ice advantage in the first round of the 2014 President’s Cup playoffs.
Overall, Peoria improved to 30-18-7 (67 points) on the season. Offensively, Garrett Vermeersch and Adam Hartley each notched a goal and added an assist, while netminder Kyle Rank denied 29 shots in his first trip back to Fayetteville since being traded on Dec. 18.
Fayetteville, who is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, opened the scoring at 14:30 of the first courtesy of a power play goal from of Zach Carriveau. With Cole Ruwe in the box for tripping, John Clewlow fed a pass to Carriveau at the blue line, who drifted to his right and fired a shot past Rank. Clewlow and Michael Zannella notched the assists.
The Rivermen answered at 8:13 of the second when Vermeersch ripped a shot through traffic that was redirected from the doorstep by Adam Feniak. The tip was good enough to beat FireAntz netminder Dustin Carlson and gave Feniak has fourth of the year. Vermeersch and Nick Prockow earned the helpers.
Peoria grabbed its first lead of the evening just 48 seconds into the third period courtesy of Rob Vanwynsberghe’s third of the year. After blocking a shot to the left side, Carlson found himself out of position when Vanwynsberghe grabbed the loose puck. From the goal line extended, Vanwynsberge successfully attempted to bank a shot off the Fayetteville goaltender and into the back of the net to make it 2-1. Rush and Adam Hartley recorded the assists.
Hartley added some insurance at 13:16 of the third when he won a faceoff in the FireAntz zone, then took the puck straight up the gut and placed a forehand shot past Carlson’s glove.
Less than six minutes later, Peoria collected its final goal of the contest on the power play at 18:42 of the third. Following a minor to Corey Toy for cross checking, Vermeersch grabbed a pass from Joe Schiller in the left circle and scored his team-leading 27th of the year. Schiller and Taylor Larsen notched the assists.
The FireAntz capped the scoring at 19:28 of the third when Rank poked the puck away from a scum in front, but right to Kevin Kessler who placed a forehand shot over the goaltender’s glove. Carriveau and Clewlow assisted.
Peoria finished the game 1-for-4 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill. In net, Rank improved to 19-8-3, while Carlson made 28 saves, suffered the loss and fell to 0-6-1. The Rivermen outshot Fayetteville 32-31.
Peoria also improved to 4-1-0 against Fayetteville this season.
Playoff picture: The Rivermen will matchup against either the Knoxville Ice Bears or the Columbus Cottonmouths in the first-round of the playoffs depending on tomorrow night's outcomes. If Peoria faces Knoxville, game one will be in Peoria on Wednesday (3/26) at 7:05 p.m, game two will be in Knoxville on Friday (3/28), and game three will be in Peoria on Saturday (3/30) at 7:05 p.m. if necessary. If Peoria faces Columbus, game one will be in Peoria on Wedensday (3/26) at 7:05 p.m, game two will be in Columbus on Friday (3/28) and game three will be in Peoria on Sunday (3/31) at 7:05 p.m. if necessary.
The Rivermen close out the 2013-14 regular season on Saturday with a 6:05 pm CST puck drop against the Fayetteville FireAntz at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, North Carolina. 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.