RIVERMEN VISIT KNOXVILLE THIS WEEKEND
|Fri, Jan. 31||6:35 pm CST||@ Knoxville||CD Country 107.9 FM / Live Video|
|Sat, Feb. 1||6:35 pm CST||@ Knoxville|
The Rivermen (17-13-3, 37 points) enter Friday’s matchup in fifth place in the SPHL and on a two-game win streak after sweeping the Knoxville Ice Bears (13-15-4, 30 points) in a pair of games at home last weekend. It was the fifth such sweep for Peoria this season, which boosted the team to 7-3-0 over its last 10 games – second-best in the league during that span. Overall, the Rivermen are now 17-13-3 on the season (37 points) and sit just four points behind the Mississippi RiverKings for fourth place in the standings.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
This weekend, the Rivermen open a three-game road swing with their first and only trip to Knoxville, TN, before finishing up next Tuesday (Feb. 4) at Bloomington. Overall, Peoria is 8-7-1 on the road this season and has won three of its last four games away from Carver Arena. Offensively, the team is led by Garrett Vermeersch (14 pts) and Nick Prockow (13 pts) away from home ice.
TRYING TO KEEP PERFECT
After taking both games of their inaugural series last weekend, the Rivermen look to stay perfect against the Ice Bears on Friday in their third-ever meeting – and first at the Knoxville Coliseum. In fact, this weekend marks the final two meetings between the two clubs this season, who meet just four times. Center Garrett Vermeersch currently leads the Rivermen with four points (1g, 3a) against Knoxville, while defenseman Tyler Amburgey is close by with three points (3a).
VIEW FROM KNOXVILLE
The Knoxville Ice Bears have dropped five-straight games and have slipped all the way to ninth in the SPHL standings. In fact, over their last 10 games, Knoxville is a dismal 2-6-2 entering Friday. Offensively, the Ice Bears are led by center Eric Satim (28 pts) and rookie winger Francis Drolet (28 pts), while Ben Power currently holds an 8-game point streak. In net, Bryan Hince has played all but seven games and leads the league in wins (13-10-4) and is seventh in the SPHL with a 2.81 GAA, just one spot ahead of Peoria’s Eric Levine (2.82).
A second-year pro, Tyler Amburgey enters Friday’s matchup on a team-high five-game point streak (6a), with a shot to surpass Nick Prockow’s season-high five-game assist streak set from Nov. 29 to Dec. 20. Overall, Amburgey is tied for third in team scoring with 18 points (4g, 14a) and is second on the roster with eight assists on the power play.
POWER PLAY PRODUCTIVITY
Dating back to New Year’s Day, the Rivermen have scored at least one power play goal in each of their last 10 games, and have netted at least two power play goals in each of their last three. Last Saturday, Peoria went 3-for-11 on the man advantage for the second time this year, and has now gone seven for its last 27 chances overall (25.9%).
CLIMBING THE “RANKS”
Following his ninth win of the season on Friday, Kyle Rank has moved into first place among SPHL goaltenders with a 2.18 GAA and continues to sit second with a .929 save percentage. Meanwhile, Eric Levine is expected to return tonight after sitting out last weekend with a stiff back. Levine is currently on a two-game win streak and is sixth in the league in minutes played (1,111).
The Rivermen regained the services of winger Parker Stanfield and defenseman Jarrett Rush this past week, who were both returned from the ECHL (Florida and Kalamazoo respectively). In addition, Peoria signed former Thunder d-man Kory Helowka on Friday, who notched two points (1g, 1a) and 32 penalty minutes in 23 games with Bloomington this season.