Rivermen Headlines

Published: December 19th 2013 @ 1:20 PM by: Alan Fuehring




Date                   Time                    Opponent                 Broadcast                    

Fri, Dec. 20        7:15pm CST         Vs. Bloomington        CD Country 107.9 FM / Live Video

Sat, Dec. 21       7:05pm CST         @  Bloomington         CD Country 107.9 FM Live Video

Sat, Dec. 22       3:15pm CST         Vs. Bloomington        CD Country 107.9 FM Live Video




The Rivermen will dedicate this Friday's game to those affected by November's tornado with "Central Illinois STRONG Night" against Bloomington. Peoria will wear special edition jerseys during the game, which will then be auctioned off afterwards. 100% of the proceeds will go to local charities in Washington and Pekin to help in the ongoing recovery process.



In addition to "Central Illinois STRONG Night," Friday is also UnityPoint Health Methodist "Puck Night." The first 1,500 fans through the doors will receive a limited edition Rivermen puck. 




Bring any Coca-Cola product can to the Peoria Civic Center box office on Friday and receive a pair of upper bowl tickets for just $20. Deal is valid during every Friday home game during the 2013-14 season.



On Sunday, December 22, the Rivermen will host their first Fun on the Run Family Day, featuring $1 upper bowl tickets for kids 12 and under, as well as $3 kids meals, which include a hot dog, chips and a soda. Plus, there will be giant inflatables, face painting and a post-game skate with the entire team at Carver Arena. Finally, Sunday's contest will also feature an appearance from Spongebob Squarepants, who will be on hand to meet fans and take pictures all game long.



The Rivermen (7-6-3) currently hold a perfect 4-0 record against the Thunder (5-13-0) this season – although three of those games have been decided by just one goal. During their last meeting on Nov. 30, the two clubs combined for 180 penalty minutes, including seven fights and six ejections. In addition, center Nick Prockow scored his second hat trick of the season, and has now combined for nine points (6g, 3a) vs. Bloomington. The two teams will play a total of 17 times this season, however, this weekend is just one of two three-in-three series between the two clubs.



Peoria enters this weekend on a season-long four-game win streak, and six-game point streak, after sweeping the Huntsville Havoc in a pair of games at home Dec. 6 and 7. On Friday, the Rivermen have a chance to win their fifth straight game for the first time since the AHL team won six in a row Dec. 9-20 of last year. In addition, Peoria has not earned points in seven straight games since they did so Nov. 19, 2010 - Dec. 19, 2010 – a span of 13 games.



The Thunder enter Friday’s game on a two-game losing streak and in the basement of the Southern Professional Hockey League (10 points). Overall, Bloomington has dropped eight of its last 10, including a pair of losses last weekend at home to the Mississippi Surge. On Dec. 10, the Thunder introduced Greg Pankewicz as its new head coach after Brian Gratz resigned following the Nov. 30 game. In addition, the visitors are led by rookie forward Kevin Walrod (7g, 9a) and player/ coach Travis Granbois (4g, 12a), who leads the league in defensive scoring with his 16 points. Plus, Bloomington’s main enforcer Dennis Sicard is the all-time penalty minutes leader in the SPHL with 1,305 PIM.



Heading into Friday’s game, the Rivermen have three players who are on a season-high four-game point streak: Garrett Vermeersch (3g, 3a), Joe Schiller (6a), and Nick Prockow (3g, 4a). In addition, Prockow has notched points in eight of his last nine games (5g, 9a) and currently leads the SPHL with five power play goals.



The Rivermen made an astounding 11 transactions during their only off-weekend of the season – and longest break in franchise history. Among the moves, forwards Garrett Vermeersch and Parker Stanfield each got called up to the ECHL, before being returned to Peoria earlier this week. Vermeersch made one appearance for ECHL Greenville, while Stanfield earned points in each of his three games with ECHL South Carolina (1g, 2a). In addition, the Rivermen lost goaltender Paul Karpowich to ECHL Gwinnett, but signed rookie wingers Justin Gvora and Paul Chiasson (three-game tryout). Then on Wednesday, Peoria traded for goaltender Kyle Rank from Fayetteville – for future considerations – who is 5-1-0 this season with a 2.25 GAA and .923 saves rate. Lastly, key defenseman Tyler Amburgey escaped the 30-day IR on Tuesday, where he had been since Nov. 13 with a groin/hip strain. In six games this season, Amburgey has a pair of goals along with three assists.        



With newly acquired goaltender Kyle Rank still in transit from Fayetteville to Peoria, the Rivermen have signed ex-IHL, ECHL and AHL Rivermen backup Brian Hamilton as the team’s emergency backup for this weekend. Hamilton has already been working with the Rivermen this season as a goaltending coach. The Chicago native officially played 10 games with the ECHL Rivermen in the 90’s and posted a 1-3-1 record.



Rookie netminder Eric Levine has earned the win in each of his last three starts and has not lost in regulation in almost a month (since Nov. 21). In fact, over his last five starts, the Wheeling, Illinois native is 3-0-2 with a 2.14 GAA and a .934 save percentage.  



In a new league that is used to high scoring contests, it is no surprise that the Rivermen have scored at least four goals in each of their last four games. Peoria currently scores just over three goals per game (fifth in the league) and allows almost four goals per game (eighth in the league).


FUN FACTS: The Rivermen have outscored the Thunder 21-11 this season and are 9-for-30 against Bloomington on the power play (30%)....Peoria is 2-0-0 in December after going 3-6-3 last month….The Rivermen are 5-0 when leading after two periods and 4-1 when scoring first.