Dennis Sievers/Peoria Rivermen
Mississippi winger Todd Hosmer scored four times, while teammate Leo Thomas netted a hat trick of his own on Friday, leading the Mississippi RiverKings to a dominating 9-2 win over the Peoria Rivermen at Carver Arena. It was the first time Peoria has allowed nine goals in a game in the last 273 home contests, which dates back to November 4, 2006.
With the loss, Peoria falls to 2-1-0-0 on the season while starting goaltender Phil Cook drops to 1-1-0 in his professional career. Cook made 23 saves on 28 shots over 31:45 of ice time. Rookie Russ Stein entered the game mid-way through the second period and went the rest of the way, allowing four goals on 12 shots.
Mississippi also used special teams to sink the Rivermen throughout the game. The visitors scored twice on a season-high seven power plays allowed by Peoria, and added a pair of short-handed goals as well.
For the third time this season, the Rivermen allowed the first goal at 11:18 of the first period. Shortly after winger Matt Harrington was called for goaltender interference, Leo Thomas baited the Rivermen goaltender and scored short-handed. Thomas deked Cook and went backhand into a wide-open net. Devin Mantha and Matt Smyth were credited with assists.
Less than five minutes later, Thomas picked up his second goal of the game at 15:52 of the first when he found himself one-on-one with Cook yet again.
The RiverKings capitalized on a power play towards the end of the opening frame to make it 3-0. At the 17:43 mark, Harrington received the puck on the doorstep from Tom Craig after some quick one-time passing. Harrington then turned and buried first goal of the season.
Mississippi increased its lead to 5-0 in the middle frame before the Rivermen found the net for the first time. At 9:57, Smyth found Mantha alone at the top of the point, who blasted a slap shot over Cook’s right shoulder for his second point of the night. Smyth earned a helped for his third assist of the game.
Less than two minutes, Mississippi further its lead on its second shorthanded goal of the night. At the 11:45 mark, Hosmer netted his first of the season when he gained the zone and beat Cook with a rather harmless wrist shot. It was the goaltenders final action of the night, as Cook was then replaced by Stein.
Just 31 seconds later, Peoria responded with its first goal of the game courtesy of rookie center Adam Hartley. At 12:16, the Rivermen newcomer found a cross-ice pass from Taylor Larsen and put it into the back of the net for his first professional goal in his first game with Peoria. Larsen and Dustin Parks earned assists on the tally, which made it 5-1.
Hosmer netted his second goal of the night at 18:16 of the second when he found himself in space at the bottom of the right circle and squeezed the puck past Stein on a tight-angled shot. Matt Whitehead picked up an assist on the goal, who had joined Mississippi only hours before game-time.
35 seconds later, Peoria made it 6-2 when Garrett Vermeesch picked up his team-leading fifth goal of the season. It started with Ryan Raven and Cole Ruwe, who worked the puck to the far post where Vermeersch was camped out. The rookie center then turned and easily slipped the puck past RiverKings netminder Matthew Krahn.
The final three goals of the game belonged to Mississippi, each coming in the final frame of regulation. At 1:29, Hosmer completed his hat trick when the RiverKings forward received a pass from Whitehead, which caught Stein out of position, and passed it into the back of the net to make it 7-2.
Thomas then completed his hat trick at 4:52 of the third as he beat Stein glove side on a one-on-one breakaway.
The final tally of the game came at 13:20, when defenseman Mike Grace grabbed a loose puck and fired a slap shot wide of the net and off the end boards. The rebound came directly to Hosmer, who gathered the rebound and scored his fourth goal of the game for a 9-2 final.
Hosmer (4g), Thomas (3g, 1a), Smyth (3a), Whitehead (2a) and Mantha (1g, 1a) each recorded a multi-point performance for the RiverKings, while Ruwe (2a) was the only player for the Rivermen to register multiple points.
Peoria finished the game 1-for-5 on the power play, while Mississippi goaltender Matthew Krahn earned the win in his first start of the season. Krahn made 27 saves on 29 shots faced.
The Rivermen return to action Saturday night for a re-match against the Mississippi RiverKings at Carver Arena. Peoria will wear special military-style, camouflage jerseys in celebration of “Illinois Air National Guard – Salute to Veterans Night.” Those jerseys will be auctioned off live after the game. The puck drops at 7:15 p.m. and you can follow all of the action locally on CD Country 107.9 FM or online at www.cd1079.net.