Late Dagger Propels Rivermen over ThunderBolts Saturday - OurSports Central
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Late Dagger Propels Rivermen over ThunderBolts Saturday

February 25, 2018 - Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) - Peoria Rivermen News Release

Evansville, IN - The Peoria Rivermen broke a 2-2 tie on Will Smith's goal with 38 seconds remaining in regulation as Peoria earned their sixth consecutive win, 3-2 over the Evansville Thunderbolts at the Ford Center Saturday. The win lifts Peoria to 29-10-3 on the season, good for first in the SPHL before next weekend's trio of home games.

The Rivermen opened the scoring with an even-strength goal near the midpoint of the first period. With the puck at the high slot of the Rivermen zone, Peoria winger Alec Hagaman stole it from Evansville defenseman Patrick Harrison, and raced to the Evansville end on a breakaway. Hagaman's backhander squeaked through the pads of Thunderbolts netminder Ryan de Melo for a 1-0 Rivermen lead at 7:16 of the period.

The Rivermen doubled their lead with a quick goal early in the second period. After a faceoff in the right-wing circle of the Evansville zone, Rivermen winger Michael Economos carried the puck into the slot and rifled a shot past de Melo's glove for a 2-0 lead 52 seconds into the middle stanza.

The Thunderbolts cut the Rivermen lead to a goal near the midway point of the second period. Thunderbolts winger Dave Williams took a pass from teammate John Scorcia in the neutral zone and carried into the left wing of the Rivermen zone. Williams' initial shot was kicked aside by Peoria goaltender Peter Di Salvo before Evansville winger Nick Lazorko pounced on the rebound at the bottom of the right circle and snapped it into the net for a 2-1 score at 8:22 of the frame.

The Thunderbolts tied the game with a tally early in the game's third period. Evansville defenseman Frank Schumacher sent a puck bouncing through the left-wing from the Peoria blueline, and teammate Mark Petaccio deflected it over DI Salvo's outstretched trapper for the 2-2 tie 77 seconds into the final period.

The Rivermen took the lead for good in the final minute of regulation time. With a faceoff in the left wing of the Evansville zone, Rivermen center Justin Greenberg slipped a pass to teammate Will Smith, who streaked to the netfront and deked the puck past de Melo and into the net for the eventual 3-2 final score with 38 seconds left in the contest.

Di Salvo stopped 32 of 34 shots faced in net to earn his sixth straight win between the pipes. With the win, Di Salvo improves to 13-8-4 on the season, and 8-1-1 in 10 outings since joining the Rivermen.

Notes: Smith's game-winning goal ties him with Economos and Keegan Bruce for the team lead with four...Hagaman and Economos have each notched ten points in their last six games...The Rivermen return to action next weekend when they host a trio of games at Carver Arena next Friday, Saturday, and Sunday...Friday is Peoria's Princess and Pirate Night, with scheduled appearances by "Belle" and "Captain Hook", and young fans encouraged to dress up like their favorite princess or pirate...Saturday is Chicago Blackhawks Night in Peoria, with an appearance by former Blackhawk and 2013 Stanley Cup Champion Jamal Mayers, with the ex-NHLer scheduled to sign autographs on the concourse during the game...Sunday is another PNC Family Fun Sunday at Carver Arena, with a special 3:05 start time, a pregame fun fest in the PCC Great Hall, discounted kids tickets, and a postgame skate with the Rivermen event on the Carver Arena Ice...Friday's and Saturday's games start at 7:15 PM, and the broadcast of those games can be heard, starting with the pre-game show, at 6:55 at

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 or through Facebook (

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Southern Professional Hockey League Stories from February 25, 2018

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