PREVIEW: RIVERMEN BEGIN/END YEAR VS. THUNDER
|Tues, Dec. 31||7:05 pm CST||@ Bloomington||CD Country 107.9 FM / Live Video|
|Wed, Jan. 1||5:15 pm CST||Vs. Bloomington||CD Country 107.9 FM / Live Video|
**NOTE: TIME CHANGE**
Faceoff on New Year's Day is set for 5:15 p.m. at Carver Arena, two hours earlier than originally scheduled. If your ticket was printed in advance and says 7:15 p.m., that is incorrect.
NEW YEAR'S DAY CELEBRATION
On Wednesday, come ring in the New Year with the Peoria Rivermen as they battle Bloomington at 5:15 p.m. at Carver Arena. The team will wear special edition New Year's Day jerseys that night, which will be auctioned off after the game, and it's also a guaranteed win night! If the home team doesn't come away with the victory, your ticket is good for the January 11 home game against the Thunder. In addition, fans can purchase a four-pack of upper bowl tickets to Wednesday's game for just $20.14! That's a savings of nearly $30!
Tuesday and Wednesday will mark the eighth and ninth meetings respectively this season between the Rivermen (10-9-3) and Thunder (8-15-0) – who will faceoff a total of 17 times. Following a 4-1 loss in Peoria on Dec. 22, the Rivermen are currently 6-1-0 overall against Bloomington and 3-0-0 against the Thunder at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum. Peoria is in a stretch where it will play six of its next eight games against Bloomington.
THE STORY COMING IN
The Rivermen (10-9-3) enter their New Year’s Eve tilt at Bloomington on a two-game slide after falling on the road to the Columbus Cottonmouths last Friday and the Huntsville Havoc last Saturday. Overall, Peoria has dropped three of its last five games, but remains the hottest team in the SPHL over its last 10 games with a 7-3-0 record. On Saturday, the Rivermen got goals from Nick Wheeler and Garrett Vermeersch, but dropped a 5-2 final to Huntsville in the final game of a three-in-three series. Rookie goaltender Eric Levine (7-6-3) was pulled midway through the second period and suffered the loss with 18 saves on 22 shots.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Peoria concludes a four-game road trip on Tuesday, which began last Thursday in Columbus, Georgia, and made a stop in Huntsville, Alabama, last Saturday. Overall, the Rivermen are in a stretch where they play seven of eight games on the road, including a stop in Biloxi, Mississippi for the first time Jan 3-4. Peoria is currently 5-5-1 on the road this season and is led offensively by Nick Prockow (4g, 5a) and Tyler Amburgey (4g, 3a) away from Carver Arena.
VIEW FROM BLOOMINGTON
The Thunder enter New Year’s Eve with the SPHL’s longest current win streak – 3 games – after sweeping Fayetteville in a pair of games on the road last weekend. However, Bloomington has dealt with a handful of call-ups over the last two weeks, including the departure of Kevin Walrod (Evansville), Sy Nutkevitch (Fort Wayne), Dustin Hopfner (Evansville) and Paul Arnott (Greenville), who were all promoted to the ECHL.
CALL-UPS RATTLE RIVERMEN ROSTER
On Monday, the Rivermen lost two of their top three scorers when Garrett Vermeersch (ECHL Fort Wayne) and Parker Stanfield (ECHL Florida) were each called up for the second time this season. Vermeersch led the Rivermen in both goals (14) and points (27), and was on a career-high 10-game point streak (8g, 8a) at the time of his promotion. Stanfield on the other hand led the team with 16 assists and was second on the roster with 49 PIM. Against Bloomington, Vermeersch and Stanfield had combined for 26 of Peoria’s 98 points this season (26.5%).
After scoring at least four goals in six straight games from Nov. 29 to Dec. 21, Peoria has now scored two goals or less in each of its last four contests and has gone 1-3-0 during that span. Overall, the Rivermen remain fourth in the league with 3.09 goals per game, but have outscored the Thunder 34-20 this year. In addition, Peoria has outscored Bloomington 16-5 on the road this season.
POWER PLAY SLOWING DOWN
Dating back to Dec. 21, the Rivermen have scored just two goals in their last 29 chances on the power play (6.9%). However, in seven games this year against Bloomington, Peoria is 14-for-51 (27.5%) on the man advantage including a 30.4% conversion rate at home. On the flip side, Peoria is just 8-for-86 on the power play (9.3%) against all other teams this year not named Bloomington.
For the first time since Nov. 9, Rivermen center Dean Yakura will be in the lineup after spending more than a month on the injured reserve with a knee injury. In three games with Peoria this season, the 28-year-old has recorded one point (assist), which came Nov. 9 against the Mississippi River Kings.
Peoria went 5-2-0 on New Year’s Eve and 2-0-1 on New Year's Day during the team's AHL era…The Rivermen are currently 6-1-0 when scoring first and a perfect 8-0-0 when leading after two.