PREVIEW: THREE-GAME WEEKEND SERIES VS. THUNDER
|Fri, Jan. 17||7:05 pm CST||@ Bloomington||CD Country 107.9 FM / Live Video|
|Sat, Jan. 18||7:15 pm CST||Vs. Bloomington|
|Sun, Jan. 19||3:15 pm CST||Vs. Bloomington|
For Friday's game notes, click here .
LOADED TICKETS ARE BACK
The Rivermen are excited to announce their new "loaded ticket" will continue this Saturday and Sunday at Carver Arena. Before each game, fans who purchase the "loaded ticket" will receive a lower bowl seat, plus a hot dog, popcorn and soda for just $15! However, there will only be 200 seats available per game, so call the Rivermen office at 676-1040 or stop by the Peoria Civic Center box office today! There is no limit on how many you can buy.
SUNDAY FUN ON THE RUN FAMILY DAY
On Sunday, January 19, the Rivermen will host their second 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 soda. Plus, there will be giant inflatables and face painting (beginning at 1:30 p.m. in the Great Hall) and a post-game skate with the entire team. Finally, Sunday's contest will also feature a special appearance from Dora the Explorer, who will be on hand to meet fans and take pictures all game long.
THE RIVALRY CONTINUES
Friday will mark the 12th meeting this season between the Rivermen (14-11-3, 31 points) and Thunder (11-17-1, 23 points) – and the third of five straight matchups between the two teams. Following Peoria’s overtime victory last Saturday, the Rivermen currently lead the series 8-3-0, however, Bloomington has won three of the last five meetings, and has earned points in four of the last five – dating back to Dec. 22. This weekend marks the second and final three-games in three-days series between the two clubs.
THE STORY COMING IN
The Rivermen enter this weekend in fifth place in the SPHL and winners of four of their last five overall. Last weekend, Peoria split a home-and-home series with Bloomington, which ended with a come-from-behind, 3-2 overtime victory last Saturday at Carver Arena. Rookie sensation Garrett Vermeersch scored all three Rivermen goals, including the game-winner 1:41 into OT, to record his second hat trick of the season (both against the Thunder). Eric Levine earned his ninth win in net after making 27 saves.
NO LUCK IN THREE’S
This weekend will mark Peoria’s fifth three-games in three-days series of the season, and first since Dec. 26-28. Overall, the Rivermen are just 3-9-3 in three-in-three series’ this year and have been outscored 46-29 in those games. Peoria will play a total of nine three-games in three-days series this season.
VIEW FROM BLOOMINGTON
The Thunder enter this weekend in the cellar of the SPHL, but are winners of six of their last nine games and are just one point behind Columbus for ninth place. In fact, since Dec. 22, Bloomington has collected a point in seven of their last nine games and are tied for the second-best team in the league over their last 10 games (6-3-1) – just behind Huntsville’s 7-2-1 mark. Offensively, Bloomington is led by Tyler Noseworthy (21pts = 7g, 14a) and captain Travis Granbois (21pts = 5g, 16a). In goal, BJ Obrien (3-6-1) has emerged as No. 1 with Max Strang called up to ECHL Fort Wayne.
CENTER OF ATTENTION
24-year-old center Garrett Vermeersch has been Bloomington’s worst nightmare during his rookie campaign. In just nine games, Vermeersch has tallied 20 of his team-leading 30 points, including 13 of his team-high 17 goals against Bloomington. Plus, the Macomb, MI native has recorded at least one point in all but one game against the Thunder this year. In addition, Vermeersch is among the league leaders in a number of categories including scoring (sixth) and goals (tied for first). He also leads all rookies in goals, points and power play goals (5).
The Rivermen have built a reputation this season as one of the best comeback teams in the SPHL, and one that opponents cannot count out until the final horn. That status was proven again last Saturday when Peoria beat Bloomington, 3-2 in overtime, after trailing with just over a minute to go in regulation. Overall, seven of Peoria’s wins this season (50%) have come when trailing at any one point in a game, with four of those wins coming when Peoria trails after two periods.
WHAT’S THE RUSH
On Tuesday, the Rivermen suffered their ninth call-up of the season when their captain Jarrett Rush was promoted to the Kalamazoo Wings (ECHL). The 28-year-old is expected to miss at least four games including this weekend’s series. In 27 games this year, Rush has produced six points (1g, 5a) and 43 penalty minutes. A fourth-year pro, he spent 51 games in the ECHL last year between South Carolina, Colorado, Orlando and Elmira. Rush was named Peoria’s 20th captain in franchise history on Oct. 22.
PEORIA’S 1-2 PUNCH IN NET
Between rookie Eric Levine and third-year pro Kyle Rank, the Rivermen are developing one of the league’s better goaltender combos. Levine is 3-2-0 with a 2.45 GAA and .926 save percentage in his last five games, while Rank is 2-2-0 with a 2.44 GAA and .927 saves rate. Plus, Rank is fourth in the league with a 2.33 GAA overall, while Levine is tied for third in the league with nine wins. Levine has also not allowed more than two goals in each of his last three starts.