Cahill’s Overtime Heroics Lift Rivermen to Game One Victory

April 12, 2024 - 12:17 am

PENSACOLA, FL – Cayden Cahill had Peoria’s only overtime winner in the regular season. After Thursday night, he had the first playoff overtime winner since Piotrowski’s championship clincher in 2022 as the Rivermen defeated Pensacola 3-2 in overtime to take a 1-game to-none lead in the best of three series against the Ice Flyers

The Rivermen got on the board in the first three minutes of the game as Braydon Barker made a nifty pass from the left-wing corner to hit a pinching Jordan Ernst in the slot. Ernst no mistake as he rifled the puck home to put the Rivermen up 1-0. Pensacola answered late with a point shot to tie the game 1-1, but less than 30 seconds later, Tristan Trudel corralled a bouncing puck in the low slot and shot the puck into the top shelf to answer back for the Rivermen. Despite being out-shot 18-9, Peoria led 2-1 after the first period of play.

Early in the second period, the Ice Flyers tied the game up 2-2 off of an odd-man rush, unlike the first period, the defense tightened up on both sides of the ice. Both Peoria and Pensacola had numerous power-play chances in the period but neither could find a way to break through the deadlock.

The third period was marked by several quality chances for both sides, but even more defensive plays, by skaters and goaltenders alike. When the regular horn sounded, the contest was still tied 2-2 and the Rivermen were set to embark on their first playoff overtime since 2022 and the famous Game Four of the President’s Cup Finals.

The Rivermen dominated the overtime session, spending most of the time in the offensive zone. Pensacola’s only true chance to win the game came on an extended four-on-three power play late in the overtime period. But Nick Latinovich and the Rivermen penalty killers proved their worth just as they did countless times during the regular season. Soon after Peoria got back to even-strength, defenseman Chase Spencer lifted the puck from his zone over to the offensive blue line. Two Rivermen defensemen had snuck in behind the Pensacola defense and the puck landed right to them. JM Piotrowski touched a bouncing puck to Cayden Cahill who streaked in on a breakaway. Cahill executed a fore-hand, back-hand deke and roofed the puck into the top-shelf to secure Peoria a Game One victory in their best-of-three playoff series with the Ice Flyers.