December 17, 2016 - Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) - Peoria Rivermen
Peoria, IL - The Peoria Rivermen trailed early, but fought back twice and got three goals from Cody Dion to eventually defeat the Evansville Thunderbolts 4-3 Saturday night. The win, Peoria's second in a row, completes a home-and-home sweep of the Thunderbolts after a 3-0 win in Evansville last evening.
The first period saw the Thunderbolts grab the game's first lead with the man advantage. With Dan Bremner in the sin bin for holding, Evansville center Garrett Vermeersch fed a pass to Bolts defenseman Josh Elmes in the high slot, where he settled the puck and sent a snap shot that beat Rivermen goaltender Parks at 6:30 of the first for a 1-0 lead.
The Rivermen got the equalizer less than two minutes later. With play ensuing in the Evansville zone, Peoria defender Ben Oskroba's shot from the left point was initially stopped by Thunderbolts goaltender Michael Doan, and the rebound bounced out to Rivermen winger Cody Dion just to the left of the net, and he flicked a shot past Doan's the outstretched leg at 8:06 of the opening frame to tie the game at one apiece through one period.
The teams traded goals again in the second period, as Evansville would strike first, again with the man advantage. With Dave Pszenyczny off for high sticking, Evansville winger Brad Cuzner fed a pass across the slot, just inside the left circle to a waiting Brad Bourke. The Evansville defender cocked and blasted a shot just past Parks at 6:08 of the middle frame for a 2-1 Thunderbolts lead.
The Thunderbolts lead lasted less than sixty seconds as the Rivermen retied the game at the 7:21 mark of the second. Rivermen winger Ryan Keller's pass across the slot was deflected by an Evansville stick to Peoria blueliner Donald Oliveri. Oliveri corralled the bouncing puck just to the left side of the net, spun and snuck a shot past Doan to knot the game at two, which is how the period ended.
The Rivermen grabbed their first lead of the night nearly halfway through the third period. With Evansville's Phil Bronner in the penalty box serving a too many men on the ice penalty, Pszenyczny sped down the right-wing boards, got deep in the offensive zone and fired a pass across to Dion. Dion received the pass, fought off an Evansville defender, gathered the puck, and popped it over Doan's shoulder at 8:04 to give the Rivermen a 3-2 edge. Dion added an insurance goal to finish off his first SPHL hat trick at 15:22 when he collected a loose puck from the left corner of the Thunderbolts zone walked down the goal line, and fired it over Doan's left shoulder for a 4-2 Peoria lead.
Evansville got back within one with Doan off the ice for an extra attacker. With less than three minutes remaining in the third, Josh Harris gathered a loose puck in front of the net after Parks turned away a Phil Bronner shot. Harris jammed the puck on net and it found its way past Parks for the final 4-3 score.
Parks stopped 23 of 26 shots to earn the victory and improve to 4-4-3 on the season. The win is Parks' first victory at Carver Arena since joining the Rivermen, and his second in a row against his former team.
Notes: With his first period goal Cody Dion has a point or more in each of his last 7 games, dating back to November 25th...Dion also has a seven game home point streak that dates back to November 4th against Pensacola...Dion recorded the first hat trick of his SPHL career, in his 89th SPHL game...With his power-play goal in the third, Dion snapped the team's 0-for-34 man advantage skid...Parks earned his first assist of his career on Dion's second goal of the night...The Rivermen remain undefeated in regulation against Evansville in franchise history...The Rivermen return to action next Friday, December 23rd when they travel to Evansville, IN to take on the Thunderbolts at 7:15 p.m....The broadcast of the game can be heard, starting with the pre-game show beginning at 6:55 p.m on http://mixlr.com/peoria-rivermen/
Group, single game, and season tickets for Peoria's 35th season of professional hockey presented by Midwest Orthopaedic Center 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 www.rivermen.net or through Facebook (www.facebook.com/PeoriaRivermen )