Rivermen Can't Complete Comeback, Havoc Hoist President's Cup
Peoria, IL - The Huntsville Havoc scored early and never trailed in Sunday afternoon's decisive Game 3 as they clinched the 2018 President's Cup at Carver Arena. The loss marks three straight unsuccessful trips to the finale for Peoria, and the first Havoc championship since 2010.
The Havoc opened the scoring in the early stages of the opening period when Huntsville winger Dylan Hood put a shot on goal that was initially turned aside by Rivermen goaltender Tyler Parks. The puck fluttered at the top of the crease, where Havoc winger Scott Trask picked it up and popped the rebound past Parks' outstretched leg for the 1-0 Havoc lead at 3:10 of the first period.
Huntsville increased their lead a little over five minutes into the middle frame while on the power play. With Rivermen defenseman Dave Pszenyczny in the sin bin for tripping, the Havoc won a draw in the Rivermen zone and Havoc defenseman Anthony Calabrese picked up the puck and sent a pass to the left circle. Trask collected the pass and snapped a shot that beat Parks' glove into the back of the net for the 2-0 Havoc advantage at 5:19 of the second period.
The Rivermen cut the Havoc lead in half in the late stages of the second period just after the end of a power play. Rivermen winger Joe Kalisz collected the puck just below the left circle and walked to the low slot before putting a shot on goal that was turned aside by Havoc netminder Keegan Asmundson. The rebound trickled to the right post, where Rivermen winger Connor Gorman stuffed it past Asmundson and into the back of the net to cut the Huntsville lead to 2-1 at 13:59 of the middle stanza.
Huntsville increased their lead to two in the closing seconds of the middle period. After a miscue by Pszenyczny in the Havoc zone, Huntsville winger Stephen Hrehoriak collected the puck and raced through the neutral zone and into Peoria territory. Hrehoriak cut across the slot and into the left circle, where he snapped a shot past Parks' glove and into the back of the net for the 3-1 Havoc lead at 19:29 of the second period.
The Rivermen cut into the Havoc lead again in the latter stages of the third period. Rivermen center Joseph Widmar skated into the Huntsville zone and slipped a pass across the slot to Kalisz, who popped the puck over Asmundson to cut the Havoc lead to 3-2 at 17:27 of the third period.
Huntsville regained their two-goal edge with an empty-net tally in the closing seconds of the final period. With Parks off for an extra Rivermen skater, Havoc center Sy Nutkevitch took a pass from teammate Stuart Stefan, skated into the Rivermen zone and slid the puck into the empty net to make the score 4-2 at 19:35 of the final frame.
Parks took the loss in goal, stopping 28 of 31 shots faced. With the loss, Parks falls to 5-2 in the postseason to close out the Presidents Cup Playoffs.
Notes: With the win, Huntsville becomes the 14th straight team to win an SPHL title after capturing Game 1 of the Finals...The loss marks Peoria's third straight fruitless trip the President's Cup Finale, making the Rivermen the only team in league history to advance to three consecutive finals...Kalisz tallied a goal and an assist for his second multi-point outing of the Finals...Nutkevitch recorded 13 points in nine postseason games for Huntsville and was named SPHL Playoff MVP
Group, single game, and season tickets for Peoria's 36th 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).
• Discuss this story on the Southern Professional Hockey League message board...
Southern Professional Hockey League Stories from April 29, 2018
- Rivermen Can't Complete Comeback, Havoc Hoist President's Cup - Peoria Rivermen
- Rivermen Game Notes: President's Cup Finals Game 3 - Peoria Rivermen
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.