Second Period Havoc Dooms Rivermen in Opener

October 21, 2016 7:05 pm

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Huntsville Havoc


Photo Credit: Addison Blair/Peoria Rivermen

Second Period Havoc Dooms Rivermen in Opener

Phaneuf chased in second period, Szabados debuts in relief


Peoria, IL –An opening night that featured Rivermen history also saw the Rivermen allow five unanswered goals in the final two periods as they fell 6-1 to the Huntsville Havoc Friday night. The loss drops the Rivermen to 0-1-0 on the season, but featured the Peoria debut of Women’s Oympic Gold Medalist Shannon Szabados, the first female player in Rivermen franchise history.


Huntsville got off to a fast start in the first period, as the Havoc struck first just 1:32 into the game. Jeff Jones took a feed from Mike Piluso into the right-wing circle and lifted the first Huntsville shot over the left shoulder of Rivermen goalie Storm Phaneuf to put the Havoc on top 1-0.


Huntsville didn’t hold their initial lead for long. With Sy Nutkevitch in the box for hooking 4:41 into the first period, Peoria cashed in on the man advantage. At 6:24 of the period, Dakota Klecha tipped Carl Nielsen’s drive from atop the slot over the glove of Havoc goaltender Adam Courchaine to tie the game 1-1.


Huntsville retook the lead for good in the early part of the second period, as Nutkevitch poked home a doorstep feed from Dylan Nowakowski to give Huntsville a 2-1 lead. The Havoc advantage swelled to 3-1 just 1:35 later when Lou Educate took a loose puck off a blocked Stuart Stefan shot and fired it by Phaneuf to make it 3-1. Educate notched his second marker of the evening off of his own rebound at 15:05 of the second to put Huntsville ahead 4-1 and chase Phaneuf from the contest.


Phaneuf’s departure made way for former Columbus Cottonmouths goaltender and two-time Canadian women’s Olympic gold medalist Shannon Szabados to enter the game and become the first woman to wear a Rivermen uniform in the franchise’s 35-year history. The Havoc extended their lead just 2:12 after Szabados entered the game when Piluso completed a 2-on-1 with Jones to make it 5-1 through two periods.


The game went without a goal scored for most of the third period until a late 5-on-3 Huntsville powerplay was converted with 27 seconds remaining in the contest for the final 6-1 score.


Phaneuf took the loss in net for Peoria, allowing four goals and stopping 11 shots before being removed from his professional debut. Szabados stopped 13 of 15 shots she faced in 24:55 of relief between the pipes.


Notes: Rivermen rookie Dakota Klecha recorded his first SPHL point with his power-play goal in the first period…The loss comes after Peoria swept the seven-game season series with Huntsville last season…Huntsville’s last win against the Rivermen came 3-1 on March 14, 2015 in Huntsville, and their last victory in Carver Arena came by the same score on February 7 of that year…The announced attendance of 4891 marked the fourth consecutive season in which the Rivermen have drawn over 4800 on their home opener…The Rivermen return to action tomorrow night in a rematch against Huntsville at 7:05 at Carver Arena…The game will feature a magnet schedule giveaway courtesy of Envision Insurance Group and Auto Owners Insurance…Carver Arena will also have $2.50 draft beers courtesy of Bud, Bud Light, and Savor…The game will be broadcast live at starting with the pregame show at 6:45


Game and season tickets for Peoria's 34th season of professional hockey are on sale at the Toyota Box Office in the Peoria Civic Center, or by phone at the Rivermen office, located at 201 S.W. Jefferson Street, or over the phone at (309) 676-1040. For the latest Rivermen news and notes, follow online at or through Facebook ( - Twitter (