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 Peoria Rivermen

Rivermen Down Thundebolts, 7-2 - Lead Semifinal Series 1-0

April 17, 2024 - SPHL (SPHL)
Peoria Rivermen News Release

EVANSVILLE, IN - The Rivermen came, saw, and conquered the Evansville Thunderbolts on Wednesday night at the Ford Center in Evansville as Peoria took a one-game to-none lead in the semifinal series following a 7-2 victory.

The Rivermen got on the board first for the third consecutive playoff contest as JM Piotrowski led a two-on-one rush up the ice along the left-wing boards. Piotrowski cut toward the net before sending a quick pass over to Jordan Ernst who just put his stick down to deflect the puck into the back of the net. Peoria almost had a 2-0 lead as a shot from Chase Spencer sailed into the net from the deep slot, but the goal was called back due to goaltender interference.

In games past, Evansville has been the one who had surged ahead in the second period at the Ford Center... instead, it was Peoria on Wednesday. Cale List sailed in a shot from the deep slot that was almost a carbon copy of Spencer's that was disallowed in the first period but this one counted and the Rivermen took a 2-0 lead. After killing off three consecutive penalties, Peoria was back on the attack in the final two minutes. Mike Gelatt led the charge on an odd-man rush on the left-wing side. After letting traffic pass him, he cut to the front of the net before sending a pass over to the right side of the crease to Tristan Trudel. The pass was deflected by the rookie from Peoria was able to get his stick on the puck and direct it into the back of the net. Soon after, the Rivermen were given a power play of their own, and they found success. A point shot from Zach Wilkie deflected toward the front of the net and then bounced off of the stick of Mitch McPherson right in front of the crease. As the Rivermen veteran watched on, Peoria extended their lead to 4-0 after the puck bounced over the line in the closing stages of the second period.

Evansville managed to get two power-play goals on the board in the third period, but these goals were answered by Alec Hagaman's back-to-back goals including one on the power play to put the Rivermen up 6-2. In the final minute of the game, Ernst rocketed a shot into the back of the net on the power play to cap off an offensive explosion for Peoria and a 7-2 Game One victory.

The Rivermen will look to close out the series and punch their ticket to the President's Cup Final on Friday night as they host the Thunderbolts for Game Two of the best-of-three series. Face off is set for 7:15 pm on April 19.

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