Rivermen Suffer Heartbreaking Loss, 3-2 in Pensacola

December 2, 2023 - 10:40 pm

PENSACOLA, FL – For the second straight game in a row, the Rivermen fell to the Pensacola Ice Flyers, this time in heartbreaking fashion as Peoria saw a 2-0 lead evaporate in the third period on Saturday night at the Pensacola Bay Center.

“It’s a sixty-minute game, said Rivermen Assistant Coach Eric Levine. “Good teams are not going to let you off the hook.”

After a back-and-forth defensive start to the period, the Rivermen were able to get on the board first after Cayden Cahill forced a turnover at the right-wing side inside the Pensacola blue line. He streaked in and lost the puck but was able to find it again and fired it into the back of the net as the Pensacola netminder went down for his second in as many games. Up 1-0, the Rivermen stayed on the attack as Cale List was able to fire a quick shot from the deep slot that was deflected by Spencer Kennedy with just 21 seconds remaining in the period to put the Rivermen up 2-0.

The Rivermen continued to buzz in the second period as they out-shot the Ice Flyers 15-12 in the second but the goaltenders were the story as they stood tall in the second period to keep the Rivermen lead at 2-0.

But it was in the third period that the game turned against Peoria. The Ice Flyers were able to get their first goal of the game off of a rebound on the side of the crease to trim the Rivermen lead in half. Another even-strength goal late in the period tied the game up at 2-2. Then, a delay-of-game penalty against the Rivermen late in the contest turned out to be decisive as the Ice Flyers capitalized off a rebound in front to put them up 3-2 with under two minutes to go.

The Rivermen fell in regulation to the Ice Flyers for the second straight night in a row despite an improved performance and a gutsy effort.

“I think these guys are starting to realize that you don’t just show up, put the jersey on, and expect that just because we are the Peoria Rivermen people are just going to give us wins,” Levine said.

Peoria will lick their wounds as they travel back to the River City and get set to host the Evansville Thunderbolts for the start of a home-and-home series on Friday, December 8.

Photo: Tim Lester - Press Pass Hockey