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 Peoria Rivermen

Hagaman's Historic Hat Trick Ties Finals Series 1-1

April 27, 2024 - SPHL (SPHL)
Peoria Rivermen News Release

PEORIA, IL - In what will be his second to last game in a Peoria Rivermen uniform, captain Alec Hagaman made history, becoming just the third Rivermen in the SPHL era to record a playoff hat trick. Peoria needed the efforts of their captain as they defeated a resilient Huntsville Havoc squad 6-4 in front of 5581 at Carver Arena to force a decisive Game Three on the President's Cup Finals.

The Rivermen wanted to get out to a hot start and that is exactly how they started. A power-play goal by Mathew Rehding got the crowd jumping after Rehding was able to show off some nifty stickhandling at the left-wing circle and fired a shot into the back of the net to put Peoria up 1-0. Alec Hagaman expanded the lead as he chased down a clearing puck in the offensive zone. In on a mini-breakaway, Hagaman deked the puck into the net for his fourth of the post-season. Zach Wilkie added another goal off of a point shot that floated into the back of the net to put the Rivermen up 3-0. Though Huntsville capitalized on a power-play goal in the waning seconds of the period to get on the board, the Rivermen had the lead they were looking for, up 3-1 heading into the second period.

Hagaman decided to set the tone early as he rifled home a hard wrist shot from the high slot to secure his second goal of the night to put Peoria up 4-1. But the Havoc, just like they did in Game Two of the semi-finals against Roanoke. Refused to let a large lead deter them. They dictated the pace of play for most of the middle period and notched two goals to trim the Rivermen lead to 4-3. Peoria, for their part, found themselves in a familiar situation to Game One, up by a goal going into the third period.

Alec Baer picked up his fifth point on the night as he launched a shot from the right-wing circle that sailed into the back of the net to put the Rivermen up 5-3. However, the Havoc came back to pull within one a few minutes later. The contest came down to the with both teams skating four-on-four with the Havoc pulling their goaltender for a five-on-four advantage. Hagaman made a great effort to disrupt a d-to-d pass across the blue line and then back-handed the puck down the length of the ice and into the empty net to become just the third Rivermen to post a hat-trick in the postseason. Hagaman joined Alec Baer and Jordan Ernst who both posted hat tricks on home ice during the 2022 President's Cup run.

With the victory, Peoria forces a decisive Game Three of the President's Cup Finals to be decided at Carver Arena on Sunday, April 28. The face-off for the decisive game is set for 5:15 pm.

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