Trudel's Late Goal Lifts Rivermen Over Mayhem 1-0
December 29, 2023 - 10:20 pm
PEORIA, IL – In a tight-checking, high-octane goaltender dual Tristan Trudel was the hero and goaltender Nick Latinovich held the line for the Rivermen as they sunk the Macon Mayhem 1-0 on Friday night at Carver Arena. For former goaltender and now Assistant Coach Eric Levine, who has played in several of these close games in his career, it was a different experience watching it from the bench as opposed to the goal crease.
“These types of games… it is actually more nerve-wracking when you watch because when you play it’s easy to get into that flow and into that rhythm and when you’re a coach or spectator yeah it's nerve-wracking because it’s pretty much going to be a one-goal game and it was a goalie show tonight,” said Rivermen Assistant Coach Eric Levine.
It was a fast-paced and up-and-down period, the Rivermen out-shot the Mayhem 15-4 with multiple great chances in front of the net. The best chance came off the stick of Tristan Trudel who glanced a shot off the post from the right-side circle.
The second featured more big hits and bigger saves as the Rivermen continued to test Macon goaltender Josh Boyko. Andrew Durham and Alec Baer both had quality chances but could not find the back of the net. Rivermen goaltender Nick Latinovich was also stout as he turned aside any chance the Mayhem sent his way.
Chances continued to be exchanged into the third period, and like a thrilling piece of music, crescendoed at the end. After the Mayhem hit the crossbar in the Rivermen zone, Peoria was able to clear and go on the attack. Forward Joseph Widmar skated behind the net and saw that Tristan Trudel had found open ice on the left side of the near face-off circle. Sending a pass to Trudel, Widmar watched as the 21-year-old rookie rifled a low shot in between the legs of Boyko and into the back of the net. Trudel had finally broken through on Peoria’s 45th shot of the game with just 51 seconds to go.
“Tristan, I think, is starting to find the poise and starting to find confidence in himself. He had some great chances early on and you could just see he’s starting to want the puck on his stick,” said Levine of Trudel. “He’s almost too young to be nervous, he kinda just has that mentality of just going out there and competing.”
Peoria held the Mayhem at bay for the remainder of the contest to secure their third straight win by one goal and Latinovich’s well-deserved second shutout of the season. The former Macon goaltender made 16 saves on the evening for Peoria.
“These games are tough because you see the other kid playing out of his mind, he gets all the action, then all of a sudden they come on down and one scoring chance against and you’ve got to be ready,” said Levine. “In a game like this, any mistake could’ve cost us and he [Latinovich] was perfect.”
The Rivermen will be back at Carver Arena on Saturday night when they host the Macon Mayhem again at 7:15 pm. The first 1000 fans in the building will receive a free Rivermen hat.
Photo: Elizabeth Maier - Peoria Rivermen