PREVIEW: RIVERMEN WELCOME THE SNAKES
|Fri, Feb. 7||7:15 pm CST||vs. Columbus||CD Country 107.9 FM / Live Video|
|Sat, Feb. 8||7:15 pm CST||vs. Columbus|
"BOTTOMLESS POPCORN PACK"
This weekend only (Feb. 7 and 8), purchase the new "Bottomless Popcorn Pack" and get four upper bowl tickets and a bottomless tub of popcorn for just $36. The deal can be purchased through the Rivermen office at (309) 676-1040 or at any time through the Peoria Civic Center box office.
"HAT NIGHT" THIS SATURDAY
On Saturday, the first 1,500 fans through the doors will receive a FREE speical edition hat courtesy of Unity-Point Health Methodist.
Friday will mark the third meeting this year between the Rivermen (18-13-4, 40 pts) and Cottonmouths (16-17-3, 35 pts), who have split the season series 1-1 thus far. Back on Dec. 26, Peoria took the first-ever matchup when Charlie Carkin netted the game-winner in a 2-1 decision in Columbus. 24 hours later, the Snakes responded with a decisive 5-1 victory. This weekend will mark Columbus’ first trip to Peoria, and will also conclude the four-game season series.
COMING IN HOT
The Rivermen enter Friday’s contest on a four-game point streak and fifth in the SPHL standings – three points behind Mississippi (RiverKings) for fourth place. Overall, Peoria is 6-3-1 over its last 10 games, even with Columbus and just slightly behind Huntsville for the league’s best mark during that span (7-2-1). Last weekend, the Rivermen split two games in Knoxville, earning a 2-0 shutout on Friday before falling in a nine-round shootout last Saturday, 2-1.
HOME SWEET HOME
Beginning Friday, the Rivermen will play five of their next six games at Carver Arena, where they are currently on a two-game win streak and 9-6-2 overall. Offensively, rookie Garrett Vermeersch leads Peoria at home (21 pts), but defenseman Tyler Amburgey is gaining ground and is currently on a four-game point streak at Carver Arena.
VIEW FROM COLUMBUS
The Cottonmouths are an impressive 7-3-1 over their last 11 games, but enter Friday’s matchup on a two-game losing skid and sit seventh in the SPHL standings. Just 24 hours ago, Columbus fell at Knoxville, 4-3, when the Ice Bears scored on a penalty shot with just six seconds left. Offensively, the Snakes are led this season by left wing Matt Gingera (34 pts), who is currently ninth in league scoring. Between the pipes, Andrew Loewen is the defending “SPHL Player of the Month” for January. In eight appearances, Loewen went 7-1-0 with a 2.26 GAA, .932 save % and two shutouts. He also held opponents to two or fewer goals on four occasions.
TOP OF THE “RANK-INGS”
Kyle Rank has been one of the league’s best goaltenders all season long, and now, the third-year pro has jumped to the top of the charts in goals against average (2.05), save percentage (.933) and shutouts (4). Plus, in eight January appearances, Rank went 5-3-0 with an impressive 1.63 GAA, .946 save % and three shutouts. The Islip, NY native enters Friday on a two-game win streak.
The Rivermen have consistently been one of the least penalized teams this season and enter Friday’s contest with less than 17 PIM/ game. However, the Snakes have constantly been one of the most penalized teams and sit second in the league with more than 25 PIM/ game. In addition, Columbus has 63 major penalties this season – 22 more than the next closest team. Plus, winger Alex Gallant leads the league with 170 PIM, while Will Aide is tops in the SPHL with 20 majors overall. In their first two meetings, Columbus had 19 more PIM than Peoria.
POWER OF THE PENALTY KILL
Peoria’s penalty kill has climbed to fifth in the league (83.3%) over the last two weeks and is a perfect 16 for its last 16 overall. In addition, the Rivermen are 12-3-2 this season when not allowing a power play.
ADDITIONAL NOTES AND STATS
Adam Feniak will play his 50th pro game on Friday…Garrett Vermeersch is tied for first in the league with 20 goals…Nick Prockow leads the league with 10 PPG…Taylor Larsen is tied for the league-lead with three shorthanded goals…Peoria is 13-0-0 when leading after two.