Resilient Rivermen Down Knoxville in Shootout

November 18, 2022 - 10:40 pm

KNOXVILLE, TN –  Ben Churchfield came up large in a shootout victory for Peoria as the Rivermen defeated the Knoxville Ice Bears 4-3 in the shootout on Friday night.


Peoria didn’t have to wait long for their first goal as just over two minutes in Cayden Cahill found himself on a two-on-rush with Alec Baer. Instead of passing to Baer Cahill elected to shoot and he sailed the puck just inside the right post to record his second goal of the season. Peoria's goal on their first shot of the game put them up 1-0 early in the contest.


The second period started off well for the Rivermen as Jordan Ernst was able to net his first goal of the season after he rifled a shot from the left-wing circle. Ernst’s goal came on the power play and marked the third straight game Peoria had netted a power play tally. But Knoxville came back with a power play goal of their own to pull within one. This was followed just over a minute later with the tying goal coming off an odd-man rush. Tied 2-2 Peoria killed off several Knoxville powers plays before they got one of their own. Not waiting to capitalize, Alec Hagaman skated below the goal line on the right side before he sent a short, quick pass to the side of the net where Mitch McPherson was in position for the tap-in to secure his second goal in as many nights and re-establish the Rivermen lead.


Up 3-2 in the third period, Peoria surrendered the tying goal to Knoxville on the power play. Despite some great chances on a five-minute major power play, they could not jump ahead and were forced to settle into overtime. It was in overtime that Ben Churchfield made his biggest saves of the night as the Rivermen played most of the extra session short-handed. But Churchfield and the Rivermen held firm and the game was to be decided in the shootout.


In their first shootout action of the season, Peoria did well scoring twice thanks to Hagaman and Ben Assad. The deciding moment came as Churchfield stared down Justin MacDonald, the leading scorer in the SPHL, and forced him to shoot high and miss the net.


Churchfield secured his third win in a Rivermen uniform and Peoria won their third road game in four outings. The Rivermen will head down to Huntsville for the last game of their southern swing against the Huntsville Havoc on Saturday. The face-off is set for 7:00 pm.