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Rivermen Comeback Effort Falls Short, Season Ends Friday

April 12, 2019 - Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) - Peoria Rivermen News Release

Peoria, IL - The Peoria Rivermen trailed 4-0 in the first 28:43 of regulation, battled back to 4-3, and fell short with an extra-attacker surge in the final moments, dropping a decisive Game 2 of their Challenge Round series to the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs Friday at Owens Center.

Roanoke opened the scoring with a short-handed goal midway through the opening frame by forward Jeff Jones. The Rail Yard Dawgs doubled the lead to 2-0 at the 15:48 mark of the frame after winger Maxime Guyon fired a shot from the right point after intercepting a clearing attempt from Rivermen goaltender Storm Phaneuf.

The Rail Yard Dawgs pushed the lead to three at the 6:41 mark of the middle period on Cody Dion's dunk of a rebound above the crease, forcing Peoria to make a change in net, removing Phaneuf in favor of Stephen Klein. Roanoke kept building their lead when Guyon netted his second goal of the contest at the 8:43 mark, early in Klein's third minute of play to push the score to 4-0.

Peoria started their comeback bid when Rivermen center Justin Greenberg put Peoria on the board before the second intermission, handling a cross-ice pass in front of the net from linemate Ben Blasko and powering a shot past Rail Yard Dawgs netminder Jacob Caffrey during a 5-on-3 power play.

Peoria closed the gap to two at the 11:47 mark of the final frame after Rivermen forward Pijus Rulevicius muscled to the slot and backhanded a shot from the right circle. Caffrey bodied the puck but could not secure it as it trickled over the goal line.

Rivermen defenseman Ralfs Grinbergs brought the defecit to one with a power-play, extra-attacker goal with 2:22 to play in regulation when he carried the puck end-to-end, broke loose, and popped the rebound of his own shot into the net for 4-3.

The Dawgs held off a man Rivermen scramble in the final minutes of regulation, including another extended sequence with Klein on the bench for an extra attacker, and denied Peoria's last gasp to hold on for a 4-3 final score and a 2-0 series victory, their first playoff series win in franchise history.

Phaneuf and Klein combined to stop 17 of 21 Roanoke shots, with Klein making 10 of 11 stops in 31:28 of relief and taking the loss.

Notes: The Rail Yard Dawgs advance and will await their President's Cup Semi-Final opponent from the remaining six-team field...The Rivermen were swept from a first-round playoff series for the first time in their SPHL history, and failed to reach the finals for the first time since 2015...Information on 2019-20 Rivermen season tickets are available through the Rivermen office at (309) 676-1040 and at

Season tickets for Peoria's 38th 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.

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