Rivermen Down Ice Flyers 4-1 in Hagaman’s Final Regular Season Home Game
April 8, 2023 - 10:20 pm
PEORIA, IL – It was a special pre-game ceremony honoring the captain. Alec Hagaman had played eight years in Peoria, and nine in the Southern Professional Hockey League. Former teammates and friends wished him congratulations on his exceptional career and luck for its remainder. Fans applauded, embraces were shared and memories were revisited. Then it was on to work. In the final regular season home game for Hagaman in his career, he and the Rivermen downed the Pensacola Ice Flyers 4-1 at Carver Arena on Saturday night.
Peoria netted the first goal on the power play as a wrist shot by Joseph Widmar was deflected in front of the net by Mitch McPherson for his ninth power-play goal of the season. That tally put Peoria up 1-0 after the first period.
Despite several power-play chances in a chippy second period, the Rivermen could not expand their lead, instead, Pensacola tied the game on a short-side shot late in the period. Several Rivermen penalties later in the period put them down two men going into the third period. Pensacola’s number-one power play unit started the frame with 36 seconds of a five-on-three advantage.
Like Friday night and as they have done all season, the Rivermen dominated the third period at home when tied 1-1. After killing off the Pensacola power play, the Rivermen went on the attack with a power play of their own. Jordan Ernst had the puck isolated in the high slot, instead of shooting it, he elected to pass it off to Cayden Cahill at the base of the left-wing circle. Cahill, catching the Ice Flyers out of position, shot the puck into the net to give Peoria the 2-1 lead. Peoria reinforced the lead less than a minute later following a shot by Ernst off of the face-off that found the back of the net from the top of the left circle. Up 3-1, the Rivermen added on an empty net goal by Mitch McPherson from a shot at the red-line to put Peoria up 4-1.
After earning the weekend sweep, the Rivermen finished the 2022-23 regular season with a first-place finish and a 39-14-3-1 record. They will face off against the Pensacola Ice Flyers (who fell to 8th place) in the first round of the President’s Cup Playoffs. Game One is set for Thursday, April 13 in Pensacola with Game Two back in Peoria on Saturday, April 15. Face-off for Thursday’s game is set for 7:05 pm central.
Photo: Tim Lester/Field Pass Hockey