Rivermen Lock Down Thunderbolts for 3-1 Victory

February 23, 2024 - 10:20 pm

PEORIA, IL – The Rivermen defense locked down the Evansville Thunderbolts for just 12 shots on net over the course of three periods to secure a 3-1 triumph over Evansville on Friday night at Carver Arena.

The Rivermen had the first power play of the game and found the back of the net first. Alec Hagaman had the puck with room at the top of the left-wing circle and fired a rising wrist shot that found the back of the net for his first goal since February 2 to put Peoria up 1-0.

Jordan Ernst extended the Rivermen lead in the second period as he received a pass and walked the blue line from the middle of the ice. Ernst, showing great footwork, fired the shot towards his left that touched the post and deflected into the back of the net. Ernst’s goal extended his point streak to seven games and the Rivermen lead to 2-0. Peoria was dominant in the second period and had extended shifts pinning the Thunderbolts on their own end. But an opportunistic odd-man rush by Evansville at the end of one of those shifts led to Evansville’s first goal of the game off a rebound to trim the Rivermen lead to 2-1.

Coming into Friday’s game, the Thunderbolts had come back twice in the third period to win post-regulation in their last two games. Peoria made sure they would not do so a third time in a row. Less than two minutes into the period. Joseph Drapluk won a battle for the puck behind the net. He skated to the left corner before sending a centering pass to Ryan Nola. Nolan picked his spot a wired the puck into the top corner to secure his third point (he assisted on both previous Peoria goals) of the night. The Rivermen's defense then locked down as they held the Thunderbolts to just four shots on goal in the third period to sail to their fifth consecutive victory and a season series triumph against the Thunderbolts.

The Rivermen will be on the road again on Saturday night as they travel to Evansville, Indiana to take on the Thunderbolts again to close out the weekend. Face-off is set for 7:00 pm.


Photo: Elizabeth Maier - Peoria Rivermen