Rivermen Fall 3-2 in Regulation as Mitch McPherson Returns from Retirement

January 14, 2024 - 06:55 pm

After a swath of suspensions following Saturday’s slugfest, the Rivermen brought back an old hand in Mitch McPherson back onto the ice to aid Peoria in their final game against the Havoc. While McPherson was “inspiring to watch” according to Rivermen Assistant Coach Eric Levine, Peoria fell in regulation for the first time at Carver Arena this season 3-2 to the Havoc on Sunday afternoon.

Huntsville was able to get on the board first as a turnover forced by the havoc along the left-wing side wound up in the back of the net to put the Havoc up 1-0. The physicality and fisticuffs continued on from last night as multiple fights broke out after Brody Duncan was hit awkwardly in open ice while retrieving an airborne puck. All in all 60 penalty minutes were given out alone in the first period.

Peoria was able to kill off a lengthy Huntsville power play and quickly went on the attack. Jordan Ernst cleared the zone as Cayden Cahill, serving a major penalty for Tristan Trudel, skated down the loose puck in the left-wing corner. Cahill skated around the permitter waiting for a passing lane to open. Seeing none as he drifted to the deep slot, Cahill let got a hard slapshot that beat Huntsville netminder five-hole to the game at 1-1.

Huntsville took the lead on a quick shot from just inside of the Rivermen blueline to take a 2-1 lead, but the Rivermen answered back courtesy of Alec Baer. Baer, skating up on the left on a two-on-one waited for the defenseman covering him to go down and then cut across the slot. Huntsville netminder Matt Petizian came well out of his crease to challenge and Baer showed great patience skating around him to fire the puck into the back of the net to tie the game once again for Peoria, this time at 2-2. But the major highlight of the second period was goaltender Mario Cavaliere, who stuffed Huntsville forward Jamie Bucell three times at the top of the crease to keep the game tied.

Tired bodies battled into the third period as the Rivermen fought hard but were unable to find the go-ahead goal. Instead, it was the Havoc who capitalized with just over five minutes to go to take their third and final lead of the game. It was a lead they held until the conclusion of regulation.

The Rivermen will regroup and look to battle as they get set for a home-and-home set this coming against the Evansville Thunderbolts on Saturday and Sunday in Evansville and Peoria respectively.