Ernst Leads Rivermen to 4-2 Victory in Knoxville
January 27, 2024 - 09:50 pm
KNOXVILLE, TN – Two goals by Jordan Ernst were the difference as Peoria defeated the Knoxville Ice Bears 4-2 on Saturday night to win the season series with Knoxville.
Peoria found the first goal while short-handed as Chase Spencer forced a turnover at the line and sent a pass ahead to Alec Hagman on a short-handed breakaway. Hagman rifled a shot in for Peoria’s fourth short-handed goal of the season to take a 1-0 lead. Knoxville tied the game, though it was not without controversy. A shot from the deep slot found the back of the net, but the Rivermen appealed that a Knoxville forward slit into goaltender Mario Cavaliere, impeding his ability to play the puck. After a discussion, the call on the ice goal was upheld and both teams entered the locker room tied 1-1.
The Rivermen though went to work in the second period and took back the lead just 60 seconds into the second period. Playing four-on-four, the Rivermen won a draw on the right-wing side. Alec Baer was able to win it back to Hagaman who touched a pass to Jordan Ernst fresh on the ice. Ernst skated down the right-wing boards and fired a wrist shot into the back of the net for his first of the night. A few minutes later Ernst added another goal on a heavy wrist shot from the right point that sailed in over the glove of the Knoxville netminder to put the Rivermen up 3-1. Tristan Trudel added on a power-play tally in the mid-stages of the second period as a point shot by Zach Wilkie stuck the goal-post. The puck then deflected into the slot and Trudel rifled a quick turn-around shot on net that found its way in for his 12th of the season.
Up 4-1 going into the third, the Rivermen saw their lead trimmed to 4-2 less than two minutes into the period. But Peoria stiffened up on defense afterward and refused to yield another goal as they held off the Ice Bears to complete the weekend sweep.
The Rivermen, victors of their last four games, will remain on the road next week as they travel to Roanoke and Fayetteville for a three-game weekend.