Rivermen Game Notes: President's Cup Finals Game 2
TIME TO MAKE HISTORY
The Rivermen enter play tonight facing elimination for the first time this postseason after falling 6-5 to the Havoc in Game 1 of the President's Cup Finals. With a win tonight Peoria can force a decisive Game 3 Sunday afternoon at Carver Arena, where the Rivermen will potentially have a chance to become the first team in SPHL history to hoist the President's Cup after failing to win Game 1 of the finale.
THE SERIES SO FAR
Tonight's game will be the tenth meeting this season between the Rivermen and Havoc, and just the second since a 4-1 Rivermen win at Carver Arena February 23. The Rivermen swept a pair of games in Peoria December 8 & 9 before capturing a 3-1 win in Huntsville December 30 as part of a three-night, three-city weekend. The Havoc took regulation decisions January 19 & 20 at Huntsville's Von Braun Center before earning a 5- 4 overtime win February 2. The Rivermen rebounded for a 5-3 win the following night in Huntsville. Last April, the Rivermen and Havoc met in the President's Cup Semi Finals, with the Rivermen taking Games 1 and 3 in Peoria by 5-2 and 7-3 scores, respectively, wrapped around a 4- 3 Havoc win in Game 2 at Huntsville's Von Braun Center.
SCOUTING THE HAVOC
The Havoc enter this season's President's Cup Finals after going 30-16-10 in the regular season, good for fourth best in the SPHL. The Havoc dropped the first game in each of their first two playoff series before bouncing back to oust the Mississippi RiverKings and Macon Mayhem in the Challenge Round and Semi Finals, respectively. Havoc center Sy Nutkevitch enters play tonight leading all SPHL scorers with 10 points in seven games this postseason, Havoc winger Christian Powers' six goals lead all playoff scorers this postseason, and defenseman Stuart Stefan and winger Stephen Hrehoriak have chipped in seven points apiece.
Rivermen winger Joe Kalisz scored a pair of goals in Peoria's 6-5 Game 1 loss to the Havoc, giving the Davison, MI native the first markers of his pro playoff career and marking his first multi-goal outing since November 18.
Rivermen winger Connor Gorman also tied a career high with three assists in Game 1 of the President's Cup Finals, matching his personal best set Opening night this season at Evansville. Last season during the playoffs, Gorman led the SPHL with 11 points on six goals and five helpers in seven games, and in five postseason outings thus far this April, Gorman has notched five helpers, including two on the power play.
GO GET 'EM GURTS
Rivermen winger Mike Gurtler enters play tonight with five goals and two assists in five games this season, giving him the team lead with seven points this postseason, and leaving him one goal shy of league-leader Christian Powers of Huntsville for the playoffs. During the regular season, Gurtler scored a career-high 21 goals in 55 games, assisting on 17 others and adding a +8 rating, and in 27 career playoff contests, the Rochester, NY native has logged 11 goals and 12 assists.
IT'S NOT HOW YOU START...
The Rivermen enter tonight's contest outscoring their opponents 16-7 in the final two periods of games this season, while the Havoc are outscoring their foes 16-8 in the third period after being out- tallied 9-6 in the middle stanza of their games.
WHAT'S ON DECK
With a win tonight, the Rivermen will force a decisive Game 3 to decide the President's Cup champion, Sunday at 4:15 PM CDT in Peoria.
Should Game 3 become necessary, tickets will go on sale beginning at 9 am Saturday through the Rivermen office at (309)-676-1040.
• Discuss this story on the Southern Professional Hockey League message board...
Southern Professional Hockey League Stories from April 27, 2018
- Havoc Comeback Falls Short, Team Heads to Peoria for Deciding Game - Huntsville Havoc
- Rivermen Calm Havoc, Force Game 3 - Peoria Rivermen
- Rivermen Game Notes: President's Cup Finals Game 2 - 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.