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Rivermen Drop Back-And-Forth Playoff Opener Wednesday

April 10, 2019 - Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) - Peoria Rivermen News Release

Roanoke, VA - The Peoria Rivermen took a 3-2 lead through the first two periods but fell 4-3 in regulation at Roanoke's Berglund Center Wednesday, dropping Game 1 of their Best-of-3 Challenge Round series with the Rail Yard Dawgs. The loss, Peoria's first opening-round postseason defeat since 2016, puts the Rivermen down 1-0 as the series shifts to Peoria's Owens Center Friday night.

The Dawgs opened the scoring with the only goal of the opening frame, just before the midway point of the period. Roanoke winger Mac led a 3-on-1 charge into the right wing of the Peoria zone and dropped a pass to Oleksandr Liulchuk in the slot. Jansen one-timed Liulchuk's return pass to the post past a sprawling Storm Phaneuf for a 1-0 Dawgs lead at 9:51 of the period.

Peoria tied the game with their first goal of the game, early in the second period. Rivermen winger Joe Kalisz carried around the back of the Dawgs net, sent a pass through the slot to the left wing point, where teammate Ben Oskroba's booming one-timer sailed past Roanoke netminder Jacob Caffrey for 1-1 at 5:22 of the period.

The Rail Yard Dawgs retook the lead with a tally midway through the second period. Dawgs defenseman Travis Armstrong took the puck in the high slot of the Rivermen zone, and Phaneuf turned aside his initial shot. Jansen swarmed on the rebound for Roanoke and put the puck past a sprawling Phaneuf for 2-1 at 11:51 of the period.

Peoria tied the game with a pair of goals 14 seconds apart late in the second period. With the teams skating 4-on-4 with Peoria's Austin Vieth serving a hooking minor and Roanoke's Alex Adams being penalized for a major boarding infraction, Rivermen center Justin Greenberg sent a pass to the high slot, where teammate Kevin Patterson's one-time rocket zipped past Caffrey for 2-2 at 18:25 of the frame. Off the ensuing center-ice faceoff Kalisz stole the puck, broke into the Roanoke zone on a breakaway, and fired a shot past Caffrey for a 3-2 lead at 18:39.

Roanoke re-took the lead at 5:48 of the third period. Dawgs winger Cody Dion carried the puck into the right point of the Rivermen zone, hesitated, then fed a pass to the slot, where Colton Wolter redirected the puck over Phaneuf's shoulder and under the crossbar for 3-3.

Roanoke took the lead for good with just 2:38 left in the final period of regulation. Jansen collected the puck atop the left circle of the Peoria zone, and his shot was blocked by a Rivermen defender, and kicked back to the point. Dawgs defender Cam Bakker took a wrister toward the net, and teammate Josh Nenadal tipped it past Phaneuf for the 4-3 final score at 17:22 of the period.

Phaneuf took the loss in net, his first regulation defeat since March 9 at Knoxville, and his first postseason loss since Game 2 of the 2017 President's Cup Finals at Macon. The defeat drops Phaneuf to 4-4 in his postseason career.

Notes: Kalisz recorded two points for the third straight game...Rivermen captain Alec Hagaman returned to the ice to start the third period after being boarded by Roanoke's Alex Adams at 17:33 of the second period...The Rivermen return to action Friday night when they play Game 2 of the Best-of-3 series with the Rail Yard Dawgs at Peoria's Owens Center at 7:15 PM CDT...Tickets to the game are available now through the Rivermen office at (309) 676-1040...The broadcast of the game can be heard, starting with the pregame show at 6:55, at

Group, single game, and season tickets for Peoria's 37th 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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