Rivermen Net Emphatic 4-1 Victory over Thunderbolts
November 10, 2023 - 10:45 pm
PEORIA, IL – In a raucous, roaring, and angry affair that was filled to the brim with fights, hits, saves, and goals the Rivermen emerged victorious with an emphatic 4-1 victory over the Evansville Thunderbolts in front of 3,655 fans at Carver Arena on Friday. Forward JM Piotrowski led the way with two goals as Peoria improved to a 4-0-1 record in their first five games of the season.
The Rivermen didn’t get quite the start they wanted as they surrendered the first goal to the Thunderbolts early in the first period. It was on the penalty kill where they broke through to tie the game. Piotrowski was able to pick up a loose puck in his end make a nice play to get around a defenseman and stepped in on a short-handed breakaway. Instead of a deke, Piotrowski elected for a hard and quick wrist shot that found its way past Evansville goaltender Sean Kuhn. Piotrowski’s third of the season leveled the score 1-1, where it remained for the remainder of the period.
The second period saw the Rivermen score two goals and strike two posts as they unleashed a pair of goals in less than a minute. The first came off of the stick of Joseph Widmar who skated up the left-wing side and patiently cut into the high-slot. Seeing a shooting lane open up, Widmar rifled a shot into the back of the net to record his second tally of the season. But Peoria didn’t stop there, on the next shift, defenseman Zach Wilkie fired a high wrist shot as he stepped in over the line. The shot hit the post and then deflected back out to Wilkie who was driving the net. With Kuhn turned around looking for the puck, it was a simple tap-in for Wilkie who made no mistake for his second goal of the year to give Peoria a key insurance goal going into the third period.
In the third period, the Thunderbolts had erased late deficits to force overtime in back-to-back games. Not so on Friday. Just over a minute into the third period, List made an athletic play to hold the puck in the offensive zone. After making the play, he spied Piotrowski all alone in the low slot and sent him a quick pass that no sooner was off his stick than it was in the back of the net, deflected in by Piotrowski for his second goal of the game. Piotrowski’s goal put to rest any comeback thoughts and set the Rivermen up for an emphatic 4-1 victory.
“I think we skated well,” said Rivermen head coach Jean-Guy Trudel. “I think this is going to be a big step in the right direction and we’ll get back to work on Monday.”
The Rivermen will travel on Monday after practice to Evansville, Indiana to face the Thunderbolts again for a Tuesday morning matchup in the Ford Center at 10:00 am.
Photo: Elizabeth Maier - Peoria Rivermen