SUPERHEROES HEADLINE WEEKEND VS. GATORS
|Fri, Feb. 28||7:15 pm CST||Vs. Louisiana||CD Country 107.9 FM / Live Video|
|Sat, Mar. 1||7:15 pm CST||Vs. Louisiana|
On Friday, the Rivermen will welcome Batman, Robin, Spiderman, Captain America and Flash to Carver Arena for Superhero Night! Throughout the game, fans are encourage to meet each superhero, take pictures and get autographs. Plus, fans are invited to dress up and participate in a superhero lookalike contest! Good seats are still available by calling the Rivermen office at 676-1040!
TEAM POSTER NIGHT & PEORIA CHIEFS NIGHT
On Saturday, the first 2,500 fans through the doors will receive a 2013-14 Rivermen team poster courtesy of the Illinois Air National Guard! In addition, all fans will receive a free voucher to the 2014 Peoria Chiefs home opener on April 8 and the Rivermen will wear unique baseball style jerseys that support the Chiefs' logo. The jerseys will then be auctioned off live after the game.
THE STORY COMING IN
The Rivermen (23-16-5, 51 points) enter this weekend's double-header against the Louisiana IceGators (29-14-3, 61 points) on a three-game slide and fifth in the SPHL standings – two points behind the Huntsville Havoc and Mississippi RiverKings, who are tied for third. Last weekend, Peoria dropped three straight games on the road including a pair of contests to Louisiana on Saturday and Sunday (1-0, 4-1). The weekend began with a 3-2 OT loss to the Mississippi Surge on Friday, in which the Rivermen let a 2-0 lead slip away and surrendered the game-winner with just 14.4 seconds left in OT. However, Peoria’s magic number has fallen to “11” on Fayetteville and "seven" on Bloomington as the team looks to secure its first-ever SPHL playoff spot.
RIVERMEN VS, ICE GATORS
Friday marks the third of four meetings this season between the Rivermen and IceGators, but first at Carver Arena. Louisiana currently leads the season-series 2-0 and has outscored Peoria 5-1 in those games – mostly in part to Adam Stuart’s five points (3g, 2a) and Kiefer Smiley’s 34 saves on 35 shots. In addition, center Shawn McNeil has four points (4a) against Peoria.
BY THE BOOKS
Despite never meeting in the SPHL before last Saturday, the two clubs have a storied rivalry from their ECHL days, including Peoria’s 1999-00 Kelly Cup Championship run. That year, the Rivermen defeated Louisiana four games to two in the Kelly Cup Finals, capped by a 4-3 overtime victory in game six to seal the championship. Overall, Peoria and Louisiana last met at Carver Arena in their final ECHL matchup on March 2, 2003 – 3-1 Peoria loss.
VIEW FROM LAFAYETTE
The IceGators enter Friday’s game in second place in the SPHL standings – two points behind Pensacola for first – and winners in seven of their last eight contests overall. Plus, Louisiana is a league-best 8-2-0 over its last 10 games and will clinch a playoff spot with its next win. Offensively, the IceGators are led by McNeil, who leads the SPHL in points (54) and assists (37). In net, Smiley leads the team with a 15-8-2 record.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
The Rivermen return to the comfort of Carver Arena this weekend, where they have won a season-high seven straight games and are 14-6-2 overall. In fact, the last time Peoria fell at home was Jan. 19 to Bloomington, and the last time the franchise won eight straight at Carver Arena was Feb. 22 – Apr. 3, 2009. Additionally, Taylor Larsen currently has points in eight straight games at home, while netminder Kyle Rank has won five straight at Carver Arena. Starting Friday, Peoria will play five of its next six games on home ice.
Peoria’s offense has combined for just three goals over its last three games, equaling the least amount of offense over that span this season (Peoria had three goals in three games from Dec. 27 – Dec. 31). Overall, Peoria’s offense has fallen to seventh in the SPHL with 2.70 goals per game. Much of that has to do with a struggling power play, which is zero for its last 17 chances.
DEALIN’ AT THE DEADLINE
Just before the SPHL trade deadline arrived last Monday, head coach Jean-Guy Trudel dealt defenseman Tyler Amburgey to the Pensacola Ice Flyers for rookie winger Justin Alonzo, the rights to defenseman Mike MacIntyre (pictured), plus cash. In 36 games this season, Amburgey notched 21 points (5g, 16) for the Rivermen, while Alonzo produced 21 points (6g, 15a) over 36 games for the Ice Flyers. In addition, MacIntyre has been with CHL St. Charles since Dec. 29, but is expected to join the Rivermen at some point down the stretch. Both Alonzo and MacIntyre helped Pensacola win the league championship last season.
DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Peoria helped strengthen its defense last Tuesday when the club signed 6’5, 225-pound rookie Ben Oskroba to a full-season contract. Oskroba played 13 collegiate games for the UCONN Huskies this season after spending parts of the past two years at Northeastern University in Boston. In addition, d-man Joe Schilller was lifted from the injured reserve on Tuesday, where he had been since Jan. 27. In 33 games for the Rivermen this season, Schiller has collected 18 points - all assists - and eight penalty minutes.