Deja Vu Hits Rivermen in Shootout Loss

December 13, 2019 - 11:10 pm

Deja Vu Hits Rivermen in Shootout Loss

Levine makes 36 saves to help earn standings point

Photo credits: Dennis Sievers


Evansville, IN – Robin Hoglund and Jakob Reichert helped build Peoria a 2-0 lead, but a second period surge helped spark Evansville en route to a 4-3 shootout final decided by Seth Swenson’s game-winning-goal in the shootout. 


The Rivermen fall to 12-1-2 on the season, losing their second shootout of the year. Their only other came against the Thunderbolts a month earlier in a nearly identical game; the Rivermen had a two goal lead, Evansville scored three straight, the Rivermen tied it up, then lost in a shootout. The same can be said for Friday’s contest, where Evansville won its fifth straight, improving to 9-8-1.


Robin Hoglund started the scoring just over five minutes into the game by rocketing one past his former team. From his own end, Skyler Smutek dished a 100 foot pass to the Evansville blue line where Hoglund was perched. The Swedish forward drilled a wrist shot past Thunderbolts goalie Braeden Ostepchuk for his third of the season. 


At the 10:55 mark, Jakob Reichert would connect on a play made by line mates Darren McCormick and Zach Nieminen, allowing the winger to notch his ninth goal of the season. With his goal, Reichert has points in 11 of 12 games played with Peoria this season.


After a strong first period, the Rivermen would struggle in the second, and ultimately pay the price when the home team scored three goals in less than five minutes, and two in 49 seconds. Matthew Barnaby began the rally when a point shot bounced off Rivermen net minder Eric Levine, only to go right to Barnaby on the doorstep for a backhand goal.


49 seconds later, a right point drive from former Rivermen, Kyle Thacker, was redirected in the crease by Derek Sutliffe, who crashed on top of a frustrated Levine, but the puck crossed the line before contact was made, making it a 2-2 game. 

At the 13:58 mark of period two, a similar goal benefited Sutliffe. While on the power play, Brandon Lubin took a slap shot from atop the blue line that was tipped off Sutliffe’s stick, just barely leaking through Levine to give Evansville its first lead of the night.


The lead was short lived, however, after Levine made a bevy of saves while sprawled out to keep the Rivermen within one. Seconds later, with three minutes to play, Alec Baer cashed in on a feed from Darren McCormick with a nearly empty cage to slam home his second of the season; both of which Baer scored against Evansville.


Jean-Guy Trudel’s team came out inspired to begin the third period, but the two teams would eventually balance out to force overtime. In the extra session, Rivermen defenseman Brandon McMartin was cited for a holding call, giving Evansville a four-on-three. Eric Levine played his sharpest here, and ultimately kept the Thunderbolts from ending the game in overtime; a period in which they outshot Peoria, 10-0.


In the shootout, the Rivermen’s lone conversion came from Alec Baer in round four, tying the shootout. In the final round, Seth Swenson found a hole low through Levine, giving the Thunderbolts the deciding goal.


The teams engage for a rematch Saturday night, with a puck drop set for 7:15 p.m. CST….The broadcast of the game can be heard, at starting with the pre-game show, at 7:00 p.m. CST.


Group, single game, and season tickets for Peoria's 38th season of professional hockey presented by Midwest Orthopaedic Center are on sale at the Toyota Box Office in the Peoria Civic Center, at the Rivermen office, located at 201 S.W. Jefferson Street, or over the phone at (309) 676-1040. For the latest Rivermen news and notes, follow online at or through Facebook ( - Twitter(