Neville's Overtime Goal Lifts Peoria Over Knoxville, 3-2

February 9, 2020 - 09:45 pm

Neville’s Overtime Goal Lifts Peoria Over Knoxville, 3-2

Rivermen salvage three-in-three weekend

Photo credits: Knoxville Ice Bears


Knoxville, TN – Nick Neville scored 2:46 into three-on-three overtime, giving the Peoria Rivermen a 3-2 victory over the Knoxville Ice Bears Sunday afternoon in the Knoxville Civic Coliseum.


The win pushed Peoria to 26-6-3 on the season, earning a win after dropping two consecutive games in regulation for the first time all season. Knoxville gains a standings point with the overtime loss and now sit 5th in the SPHL standings with a 21-15-4 mark. Eric Levine took the win in net, improving to 18-2-3 with 31 saves. Cody Porter falls to 2-5-1 on the year with a 24 save performance for the Ice Bears.


With both teams playing their third game in as many days, the pace of play slowed as the contest went on, but each club played an energized first period and were rewarded with goals. 


Mitch McPherson capitalized first. 6:28 into the period, Alec Hagaman tossed a puck from the right wing into the slot for McPherson, who snapped the puck from in-between the dots to get his 10th goal of the season. The lead would last only 45 seconds, however, as the Rivermen went to the penalty kill on a slashing call against Johan Hoglund. Moments later, a loose puck was fought for in front of Levine in-tight, before being nudged to Riley Christensen inside the left circle to fling in the cage for the 1-1 tie.


Neither team managed a conversion in the second period, but the Rivermen would find their next goal on a shot by Paul Fregeau, who skated as a forward in Sunday’s game. At the 9:00 mark of period three, Jordan Carvalho tied up Scott Cuthrell in the faceoff dot to Porter’s left. Fregeau stepped toward the players and pulled the puck, then instantly rifled a shot over Porter’s shoulder to get his first point in 10 games, giving Peoria a 2-1 edge.

After the Rivermen scored, Knoxville instantly responded with a slew of scoring chances and would eventually cash in with just over six minutes left in regulation. Gehrett Sargis had a puck kick back toward him in the low slot facing Levine. Rivermen defender Brandon Rumble slid to his stomach trying to block the pending shot, but Sargis’ drive hit off Rumble and bounced over Levine into the net, tying the game at two.


For the 10th time this season, the Rivermen would need overtime. Peoria dictated the pace in three-on-three, and ultimately finished when Hagaman walked across the Knoxville line, peeled to the left boards, then dished the puck toward the crease down low. Defenseman Nick Neville came in close to slice a puck using his backhand, roofing it by Porter to give the Rivermen a road win before returning home to central Illinois.


The Rivermen are home for three games in four nights against the Evansville Thunderbolts, beginning Thursday evening at Carver Arena. Puck drop is slated for 6:45 p.m. CST….The broadcast of the game can be heard, at starting with the pre-game show, at 6:30 p.m. CST.


Group and single game 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(