Rivermen Drop 2019 Finale in Quad City

December 31, 2019 - 07:20 pm

Rivermen Drop 2019 Finale in Quad City

Fries’ hat trick propels Storm to 5-2 win

Photo credits: Dennis Sievers


Moline, IL – A three goal second period helped the Quad City Storm spoil the decade finale for the Peoria Rivermen, with a 5-2 final being played out at TaxSlayer Center on New Year’s Eve. The loss drops Peoria to 16-3-3, while Quad City improves to 7-11-5, jumping into seventh place in the SPHL standings.


Connor Fries, who played just two games with the Rivermen earlier this season, became the first player in Storm history to score a hat trick, earning a career-best four points on the night for the rookie. Peter Di Salvo took the crease, making 33 saves for the win. Dillon Kelley was handed a loss in his second game in goal for Peoria, making 28 stops.


Quad City struck early in the contest with a goal just 2:59 in. A point shot found its way through traffic and hit the pads of Kelley, who never saw it coming. A quick rebound off the backhand was cashed in on by Fries to make it 1-0.


Peoria had a power play to begin the second, but failed to convert. Near the midway point of the period, an after-the-whistle scrum resulted in two fights, as Mitch McPherson took on Kristpas Nimanis, while Zach Nieminen fought Tucker Ross. The festivities resulted in five minute majors, along with Peoria captain, Alec Hagaman being assessed a roughing minor. The infraction resulted in Storm captain, Dean Yakura scoring his second goal of the season. His only other goal came against the Rivermen on opening night.


A fast break at the 15:13 mark of the period allowed Shane Bennett to race up the ice, leaving a puck in the goal mouth for Fries to smash home. Just 3:18 later, a late period power play allowed Storm defenseman, Matthias Ahman to one-time a shot through the legs of Kelley for the 4-0 advantage.


Alec Hagaman got the Rivermen on the board with his 11th of the season when he drilled a puck past Di Salvo deep in the zone, making it 4-1 with 15:40 to play. The team then showed signs of life with quality shifts and numerous shots toward the goal, but the Storm buckled down and found another opportunity down the ice, where Fries completed the hat trick, making it 5-1 with less than seven minutes to play.


Mitch McPherson would score the only other Rivermen goal; his fifth of the season to cut the deficit to three. With over two minutes left in a four-on-four situation, Rivermen head coach Jean Guy Trudel elected to pull Kelley in favor of an extra man, but the Rivermen were unable to convert.


The Rivermen kick off 2020 by resuming a five game road trip, with the scene shifting to Birmingham for a pair of weekend games against the Bulls. It starts Friday night with a 7:30 p.m. puck drop. Fans can catch the audio broadcast of the game live at http://mixlr.com/peoria-rivermen/ , starting with the pre-game show at 6:15 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 www.rivermen.net or through Facebook (www.facebook.com/PeoriaRivermen) - Twitter(https://twitter.com/Peoria_Rivermen)