Wilkie Leads Rivermen Comeback in Knoxville

November 17, 2022 - 09:55 pm

KNOXVILLE, TN –  The Rivermen returned to their winning ways behind a three-point Zach Wilkie night and a comeback effort to beat the Knoxville Ice Bears 3-2 at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum on Thursday night.


The contest did not start the way the Rivermen wanted as Knoxville jumped out to a 2-0 lead on their first three shots on net. This resulted in a quick goaltending change as goaltender Eric Levine was pulled in favor of Ben Churchfield. The Rivermen went back on the attack and had several decent looks at the net but could not find a way to get on the board in the first period.


The second period saw the Rivermen come out flying with shots on net and plenty of zone time. Aided by a few power plays, Peoria laid siege to the Knoxville net, and they finally found a way to break through. Mitch McPherson was able to feed a pass to defenseman Zach Wilkie in the high slot with traffic at the side of the net. It was enough to district the Knoxville netminder as Wilkie’s slap-shot sailed into the back of the net for Peoria’s first goal of the night. Down just 2-1 the Rivermen faced a bit of adversity late in the frame as they were tagged for three straight penalties but killed them all off to take momentum into the third period.


That third period saw the Rivermen jump out ahead to take their first lead of the game. Mitch McPherson was able to deposit a rebound in front just under a minute in to tie the game at 2-2. Just under five minutes later Brayden Barker deflected a Zach Wilkie shot into the back of the net to record his first as a Rivermen to put Peoria up 3-2. As time wound down, the Rivermen skated off a six-on-four Knoxville advantage to record their second road win of the season and first coming from behind this year.


The Rivermen had a lot of positives on Thursday night as they went 2/5 on the power play and held their opponent to less than 30 shots on net for the fourth game in their last five. Peoria will look for their second straight victory on Friday night at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum. Face-off is set for 7:35 pm eastern.