Special Teams Power Rivermen to 3-2 Triumph over Evansville

January 21, 2024 - 06:30 pm

PEORIA, IL – Rivermen forward Jordan Ernst scored or assisted on all three power-play goals for the Rivermen as special teams powered the Peoria Rivermen to a 3-2 victory over the Evansville Thunderbolts at Carver Arena on Sunday

The Rivermen were all over the Thunderbolts in the first period, out-shooting Evansville 12-4 in the first period. But some tough bounces and timely saves kept the Rivermen off the scoreboard. Evansville was in fact the beneficiary of a bounce that went their way and enabled them to take a 1-0 lead in the first period.

It was in the second period when the Rivermen power play came alive, just like it did last evening in Evansville. Just like Saturday night, it was Jordan Ernst who was the main spark plug. Just 13 seconds after going on the man advantage, Cale List sent a quick pass from right to left to Jordan Ernst on the left side of the high slot. Ernst had a small shooting lane as the Thunderbolt killers thought List was going to take the shot. Instead, Ernest rifled a wrist-shot low that found the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1. It also marked the second straight night that Ernst had scored a power-play goal. Later in the second period again the Rivermen were able to get possession and send a pass from List after an Evansville forward committed too far to the near side. Setting up at the left-wing dot, Ernst snapped home a high shot that beat Evansville netminder Cole Ceci high and across his body to find the back of the net. Ernst’s second of the game put the Rivermen up 2-1 going into the third period.

The Thunderbolts were able to tie the game at 2-2 early in the third period but again, the Rivermen power play answered the call just as they have all weekend long. Ernst sent a pass in the neutral zone to newcomer Kalib Ford, who signed with the Rivermen just this week. Stepping into the Evansville zone, Ford spied his former FPHL, now current Rivermen teammate Dawson Baker uncovered in the slot. Ford sent a quick pass to Baker in the slot and the former Carolina Thunderbird made no mistake as he sent a hard shot into the back of the net to put the Rivermen on top 3-2.

The Rivermen held on for a hard-fought 3-2 victory as Peoria notched their first weekend sweep of 2024 and goaltender Mario Cavaliere made 20 saves to record his first SPHL victory of his career.

Peoria will spend the next two weeks away from the River City as they travel to Knoxville for a two-game series before a three-game weekend against Roanoke and Fayetteville to open the month of February.

Photo: Elizabeth Maier - Peoria Rivermen