Rivermen Unbeaten Streak Ends in Knoxville

November 22, 2023 - 09:03 pm

KNOXVILLE, TN – It was a six-to-five slugfest at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum on Wednesday night, unfortunately, the Rivermen came up on the wrong side of an 11-goal frenzy as they saw their eight-game unbeaten streak end to the Knoxville Ice Bears following a 6-5 loss.

“We have been out-skilling teams, and today we got out-competed, not in our effort but in our details,” said Rivermen Assistant Coach Eric Levine.

After a scoreless ten minutes, the Rivermen opened up the scoring against Knoxville thanks to a beautiful back-door play by Cayden Cahill. Cahill, on the left-wing side, sent a cross-ice pass to defenseman Cale List who was pinching in behind the play. List one-timed the pass into the net for his first tally of the season to put the Rivermen up 1-0. Peoria didn’t stop there however as Alec Hagaman skated up ice on a two-on-one rush a few minutes later. Hagaman, seeing the defenseman was playing the pass across, elected to shoot the puck and his quick wrist shot found the top corner of the net for the captain’s fourth goal of the year. Less than two minutes after scoring, Hagaman set up the third Rivermen goal of the game as he sent a quick pass to Joseph Widmar from the right half-boards. Widmar, all alone in the slot, fired his quick shot into the back of the net in one motion to extend his point streak to a league-high nine games.

Knoxville answered back with a strong second period as they scored a quick goal just under three minutes into the second period. This was answered by Mike Gelatt’s goal as he deflected in a point-point shot from Dale Deon to extend the Rivermen lead to 4-1. But the Ice Bears rallied and added on two unanswered goals to end the second period to trim the Rivermen lead to 4-3 going into the third period.

The third period came down to a couple of skilled plays and unfortunately for the Rivermen, Knoxville made just a few more than them. The Ice Bears tied the game early in the period but Peoria answered off of a skilled shot by Cayden Cahill who stole the puck along the right-wing boards, skated to the base of the circle, and unloaded an accurate shot from a tight angle that found the back of the net to give Peoria the lead right back. But Knoxville would not go away and capitalized off of defensive miscues, turnovers, and a tough Rivermen penalty to score two goals in just over a minute to take a 6-5 lead over Peoria.

“There’s a lot of things we did wrong, there’s a lot of things we did right and it’s hard to take two positives when you lose six to five,” said Levine. “But I like this because we’re going to see what type of hockey players we have, not just guys that play hockey but what type of players we have. Our group is veteran, our group knows it’s all about how you respond. It’s kinda like the old fighter, you get knocked down twice, you get up three times and we’re going to get back up tomorrow and see what we’re made of.”
Peoria will have a short time to lick their wounds as they gear up for two more games this week on the road against the Huntsville Havoc on Thursday and Friday, the first meetings between the two since their exhibition matchup in Clarksville, Tennessee earlier this year.