Rivermen Battle Back, Win in Shootout Thriller 3-2

March 8, 2020 - 07:15 pm

Rivermen Battle Back, Win In Shootout Thriller 3-2

Nieminen’s pair lifts Rivermen over Rail Yard Dawgs Sunday

Photo credits: Dennis Sievers


Peoria, IL – For the second straight night, the Peoria Rivermen fell behind and had to battle back, this time against the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs. The Rivermen got a pair of goals from Zach Nieminen and the game tying goal in the final minutes of regulation from Ryan Cusin en route to a 3-2 shootout victory Sunday afternoon in front of 2,899 fans at Carver Arena. The win, Peoria’s third straight, lifts them to 33-8-5 on the season and they remain atop the SPHL standings. With the loss, Roanoke falls to 16-23-8, remaining seventh in the SPHL standings. 


The Rail Yard Dawgs opened the score in the closing seconds of the opening frame after the completion of a power play. Roanoke gained the offensive zone when Dawgs’ defenseman Travis Armstrong flicked the puck net ward, with the puck skidding wide of the goal. Marcus Ortiz, however, deflected the puck at the goal post past the foot of Rivermen netminder Eric Levine for the 1-0 Roanoke lead at 19:48 of the first period. 


Peoria evened things up less than five minutes into the middle stanza while applying pressure in their offensive zone. Defenseman Ben Oskroba found Zach Nieminen below the goal line. Nieminen carried the puck into the left circle and snapped a shot that sailed over the shoulder of Roanoke goalie Henry Dill to tie the game, 1-1 at 4:24 of the middle frame.


Roanoke regained a one goal advantage just prior to the midway point of the middle frame while skating with a five-on-three power play. Roanoke center Kyler Wagner fired the puck on net which was initially turned aside by Levine, the puck glanced off Levine to Jeff Jones who was stationed below the left circle, Jones promptly snapped the puck past Levine and into the back of the net for the 2-1 Rail Yard Dawgs edge at 9:31 of the second period.


The Rivermen tied the game late in the third period in dramatic fashion. Winger Ryan Cusin and defenseman Nick Neville played catch at the blue line of the Rivermen offensive zone. Neville slipped one final pass to Cusin, who skated into the right circle and snapped a shot that beat Dill and into the back of the net, tying the game at two with 1:16 left to play.


The teams battled through a scoreless overtime session before the game continued into the coveted shootout. Roanoke shot first but couldn’t break through until the third round when CJ Stubbs put the lone Roanoke attempt past Levine. Zach Nieminen tied the shootout in the fourth round before coming out in the sixth round and blasting a shot past the glove of Dill for the game winning goal in the shootout.


Eric Levine earned the win in goal for the Rivermen stopping 24 of 26 shots faced, the win, Levine’s second of the weekend improves him to 22-4-4. Henry Dill took the loss between the pipes stopping 22 of 24 shots face, the loss drops Dill to 6-7-3.



NOTES: Rivermen defenseman Jake Hamilton made his return to the Rivermen line-up Sunday after an eight-game call-up to ECHL Kansas City that began on February 9th….Zach Nieminen recorded 5 goals on three game weekend….With an assist on Nieminen’s goal, Brandon Rumble snapped a 13 game pointless streak….Eric Levine stopped 5 of 6 attempts in the shootout….The Rivermen return to action next weekend as they hit the road to face off against the Fayetteville Marksmen for a three-in-three weekend…. ….Puck drop for Friday’s game is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. CST….The broadcast of the game can be heard, at http://mixlr.com/peoria-rivermen/ starting with the pre-game show, at 5:50 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 www.rivermen.net or through Facebook (www.facebook.com/PeoriaRivermen) - Twitter(https://twitter.com/Peoria_Rivermen)