Rivermen Offense Bursts Out In 7-4 Win Over Bulls

January 4, 2020 - 01:30 am

Rivermen Offense Bursts Out In 7-4 Win Over Bulls

Levine makes 35 saves to help Rivermen sweep weekend in Birmingham

Photo credits: Dennis Sievers


Birmingham, AL – Seven different players scored for Peoria in an offensive showcase that favored the Rivermen by a 7-4 final over the Birmingham Bulls Saturday night at the Pelham Civic Complex. Alec Hagaman registered a three point game, including a goal that extends his career-high goal streak to seven games, and Cody Dion tallied his 250th professional point.


Eric Levine was in goal for the win; his sixth straight, which establishes a new career-best for him. Artt Brey took the loss in goal for Birmingham, making 26 saves. The Rivermen improved their record to 18-3-3, and Birmingham fell to 7-13-3 in front of a near capacity crowd in Alabama. 


Both teams started strong, scoring three goal a piece in the first frame. Dion got the scoring started, benefitting from a cross-crease pass from Hagaman 5:22 into the first for the 1-0 lead. The Bulls, however, would strike back-to-back times in a four minute span, courtesy of Aaron Huffnagle and Karel Drahorad to take their first lead of the weekend. 


Birmingham’s one and only lead of the weekend lasted less than two and a half minutes, thanks to a power play goal from Jordan Ernst, his 12th goal of the season, to make it 2-2. Just 12 seconds later, the Rivermen won the center ice draw and Zach Nieminen rushed down the right wing, getting the puck deep for the eventual finish in front by Robin Hoglund, making it 3-2 Peoria with 5:14 to play in the first.


Josh Harris managed to tie things up for the Bulls before the period ended, but Jean-Guy Trudel’s group would respond with another three goal period in the second frame. A bobbling puck in front of Bulls’ goaltender Artt Brey was found 4:07 into the second period by Alec Hagaman, who managed to tuck home a goal for the seventh straight game.


A pair of Rivermen defensemen would add to the second period scoresheet. Brandon McMartin and Paul Fregeau each scored their first goals with Peoria. McMartin flung a shot through traffic to give Peoria its first multi-goal lead, followed by Fregeau catching up to a puck in the slot to ring past Brey at the 16:44 mark of the second, making the score 6-3.


The third period saw Birmingham’s Alex Johnson scored to bring the Bulls within two, allowing the club to pull Brey in favor of an extra attacker with 1:11 left. The six-on-five would not work however, thanks to additional saves being made by Levine, and the puck eventually bouncing off a Bulls’ player and out to the neutral zone, where Rivermen center Jordan Carvalho found it and walked it into the empty net.


With a seven goal game, Peoria established a new season-high in goals for. It’s the first time the team registered seven goals since January 5th 2019, where the club got past Evansville.


Next up, the Rivermen play two on the weekend in Quad City, starting with a Friday encounter inside the TaxSlayer Center, beginning at 7:10 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 6:55 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)