December 17, 2016 - Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) - Peoria Rivermen
SHUT DOWN IN THE PARKS
Last night's 3-0 Rivermen win in Evansville served as the first pro shutout for rookie goaltender Tyler Parks. The 6-foot-7 native of Imperial, MO stopped all 23 shots he faced to improve his season record to 3-4-3, including 3-1-2 since joining the Rivermen. After starting his rookie season with four games for the Thunderbolts, Parks has recorded a 1.79 goals against average and .933 save percentage.
WHO NEEDS STARSKY?
Last night's game-winning goal was scored by Rivermen defenseman Cole Hutchinson, his first career goal in his 69th professional game. The Stouffville, Ontario native spent his first pro season last year primarily with FHL Danville, recording nine assists in 40 games, adding 13 contests for SPHL Mississippi. This season Hutchinson has skated in eight SPHL games between Fayetteville, Evansville, and Peoria, and eight more in Danville, posting a goal and five assists, giving him 15 points in his pro career.
JUST KEEP STREAKIN', JUST KEEP STREAKIN'
Peoria winger Cody Dion assisted on two of the three Rivermen goals, giving him a point or more in each of his last six games. Since registering a goal and an assist against the Thunderbolts November 25, Dion recorded a point in four consecutive games before last night's multi-point performance. In 17 games this season Dion has logged six goals and six assists, and enters tonight also carrying a six-game home point streak, dating back to a goal November 4 against Pensacola.
PLAYING TENACIOUS D
In last night's shutout victory, the Rivermen allowed only 23 shots on goal, out-shooting Evansville 34-23, including a SOG edge of 11-2 in the second period. For the season, the Rivermen defense is leading the SPHL, allowing just 27.61 shots on goal per game.
After tonight's contest, the Rivermen return to Evansville for a game next Saturday at the Ford Center. After that, the Rivermen return home to Carver Arena for a pair with the Mississippi RiverKings December 30 and 31, then travel to Southaven, Mississippi for two more against the RiverKings.
YOU'LL GET NOTHING AND LIKE IT
The Rivermen enter tonight's rematch with the Thunderbolts after earning their first shutout of the season, 3-0 at Evansville last night. The win is Tyler Parks' first professional shutout, and featured the first pro goal, a game-winner, for Peoria defenseman Cole Hutchinson. Last season the Rivermen got six blank slates from four different goaltenders, including three from rookie David Jacobson.
Tonight's game is the fifth of 12 meetings this season between the Rivermen and Thunderbolts. Peoria won the first ever meeting between the two teams in a morning contest November 2, 5-1 in Evansville and took November 26's game 8-2 at Carver Arena before Evansville rebounded to win 2-1 in a shootout the following night. After this weekend's home-and-home pair, the Rivermen and Thunderbolts will square off next Saturday, January 22, 28, and February 21 in Evansville, and January 15 and February 24 and 25 in Peoria.
SCOUTING THE THUNDERBOLTS
Evansville enters play tonight tied for sixth place in the SPHL, after last night's loss to Peoria snapped a ive-game win streak that began with a 2-1 shootout win at Carver Arena November 26. After starting their inaugural season 0-8-3, the Bolts have gone 7-4-0 in their last 11 games to surge into a sixth-place tie with Fayetteville. The Thunderbolts enter play tonight paced in point production by former Rivermen center Josh Harris, who has tallied four goals and eight assists over 20 games between Peoria and Evansville. Defenseman Brad Bourke has added eight helpers and three goals of his own in 21 games this season, and winger Dave Williams leads the team with six goals. In net, Tanner Milliron has led the Thunderbolts with a 2.41 GAA and a .921 save percentage en route to a 5-7-1 record with two shutouts.
A FAMILIAR FOE
Evansville enters play tonight with several former Rivermen on their active roster, including Harris, center Garrett Vermeersch, who has posted 2 goals and 6 assists in 17 games between Knoxville and Evansville this season, and defenseman Mike Donnellan, who has tallied one goal and one assists over 11 games while captaining the Thunderbolts.