RIVERMEN HEAD TO THE BEACH FOR THREE GAMES THIS WEEKEND
|Fri, Mar. 14||7:05 pm CST||@ Pensacola||CD Country 107.9 FM / Live Video|
|Sat, Mar. 15||7:05 pm CST||@ Pensacola|
|Sun, Mar. 16||3:05 pm CST||@ MS Surge|
COMING IN HOT
The Rivermen enter their final triple-header this weekend on a three-game winning streak after sweeping the Mississippi Surge in three games at home last weekend. In fact, Peoria outscored the Surge 11-1 during those games en route to its ninth weekend sweep this year – and second in a three-game series. In net, Kyle Rank stopped all 42 shots he faced and notched back-to-back shutouts for the second time this year. Overall, the Rivermen are 27-17-6 this season (60 points) and currently in a three-way tie with the Huntsville Havoc and Mississippi RiverKings for third place in the league standings.
With a 3-0 win over the Mississippi Surge last Friday, the Rivermen clinched their first-ever berth in the SPHL’s President’s Cup playoffs. In doing so, Peoria joined Pensacola, Louisiana, Huntsville, Columbus, Knoxville, and Mississippi (RiverKings) as the seven teams who have earned a guaranteed playoff spot.
RIVERMEN VS. ICE FLYERS
Friday will mark the fourth of five meetings between the Rivermen and Ice Flyers this season. Pensacola currently leads the series 3-0-0 after sweeping a three-game affair in Peoria Nov. 21-23. However, two of the three games went beyond regulation, with Peoria falling 3-2 in a shootout on Nov. 22, and 3-2 in overtime on Nov. 23. Offensively, Parker Stanfield leads Peoria with five points (2g, 3a) vs. Pensacola, while Mitchell Good leads the Ice Flyers with five points (4g, 1a) vs. the Rivermen. In fact, Good notched a hat trick in their first meeting on Nov. 21.
VIEW FROM THE BEACH
Following a 5-0 win at Columbus last night, the Pensacola Ice Flyers are currently on a season-high seven-game winning streak and a league-record 18-game point streak overall. In fact, the IceFlyers last fell in regulation on Jan. 19 in a 3-0 loss at Huntsville. Overall, the defending President’s Cup champs are best in the SPHL (73 points) with an eight-point lead over second place Louisiana. Offensively, the Ice Flyers are led by rookie Joe Caveney, who is second in the league with 55 points. Goaltender Ross MacKinnon is also second in the league with a 2.15 goals against average and a .924 saves rate.
While Peoria has points in each of its last 10 at home, their performance away from Carver Arena is a different story. Entering Friday, the Rivermen have dropped six straight on the road and have not won away from Peoria since January 31. Plus, the Rivermen have been outscored 16-7 during that span, with a power play that is 1-for-27 in those games.
TOP OF THE “RANK-INGS”
For the second time this season, Rank earned back-to-back shutouts last weekend in pair of victories over the Mississippi Surge. In fact, Rank’s 21-save shutout last Sunday was his eighth of the season, extending the league-record for single-season shutouts that much further. Plus, Rank also set Peoria’s franchise record for single-season shutouts, topping names like Jake Allen, Ben Bishop and Manny Legace – all NHL’ers. Overall, the 26-year-old Rank continues to lead all SPHL netminders with a 1.88 goals against average and .938 save percentage.
AMONG THE BEST
Rookie center Garrett Vermeersch collected his team-high 13th multi-point game of the season last Sunday when he notched a goal and two assists against the Surge. Overall, the 24-year-old has leaped into third place in league scoring, two points behind Pensacola’s Caveney. In addition, Vermeersch also leads all SPHL rookies in goals (26), power play goals (eight) and game-winners (six).
Rookie winger Matt Viola will enter Friday’s contest on a career-high, and team-best, five-game point streak (4g, 3a), while Parker Stanfield has earned points in each of his last three. Overall, Stanfield is runner-up on the roster with 39 points, while Viola is seventh with 23 markers.
WELCOME TO THE PROS
Last Saturday, rookie goaltender Kevin Carr was signed to his first pro contract and picked up the win in his pro debut by making 26 saves on 27 shots. Plus, rookies Ben Oskroba and Rob Vanwynsberghe each scored their first SPHL goals last weekend against the Surge.