Peoria Comeback Falls Just Short in Evansville

March 5, 2023 - 06:10 pm

EVANSVILLE, IN–  Despite a furious and inspired come-back effort the Rivermen fell just short in Evansville by a score of 5-3 on Sunday afternoon at the Ford Center.


Evansville began their offensive blitzkrieg in the first five minutes of the game as a bouncing puck hampered goaltender Jack berry’s ability to freeze for a whistle and it ended up being shot in for a quick 1-0 Evansville lead. The Thunderbolts followed that up with a quick power-play strike just six seconds into their first powerplay to take a 2-0 lead. Berry was pulled in favor of Eric Levine and that seemingly sparked the Rivermen who had several good looks at the net in the second half of the period. However, they remained frustrated by a hot Evansville goaltender Trevor Gorsuch and trialed 2-0 after the first period.


Peoria came out flying in the first few minutes of the second period and they were rewarded. Alec Baer, from the left side, spied Nick Neville pinching into the slot and send a quick pass his way. Neville had all kinds of time to pick his spot and rifled a quick shot into the back of the net to put the Rivermen on the board. Evansville re-extended the lead to 3-2 just under five minutes later, but the Rivermen answered right back. Cayden Cahill forced a turnover at the left-wing dot and took one stride before unloading a heavy wrist shot off the right post and into the net to pull the Rivermen within one.


The Thunderbolts came out flying in the early stages of the third period, and aided by a power-play, netted a quick goal off of a rebound to give them their third two-goal lead of the game 4-2. The Rivermen continued to persevere however on their fifth power play of the game were able to find a key tally as Zach Wilkie’s blast from the deep slot found its way into the back of the net to pull Peoria within one with just over two minutes to go.


The final few minutes were fierce as the Rivermen scratched and clawed for every inch of open ice and every scoring chance they could find. However, it was not enough as the Thunderbolts tacked on an empty-net goal to secure a 5-3 victory over Peoria. The loss evens up the season series between the Rivermen and the Thunderbolts. The final, decisive game, between the two, will take place next Sunday, March 12 at Carver Arena.

Photo: Harold Hopkins/Peoria Rivermen