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Rivermen Score Early, Often in 6-5 Win Saturday

February 27, 2016 - Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) - Peoria Rivermen News Release

Peoria, IL - The Peoria Rivermen got a pair of power-play goals in the first three minutes of the game and eventually out-lasted the Knoxville Ice Bears for a 6-5 regulation win Saturday. The win, Peoria's third in a row, improves their lead over second-place Mississippi to 10 points before a three-game series at home with Pensacola next weekend.

The Rivermen started the scoring with a power-play goal at 1:21 of the first period when Dave Pszenyczny's drive from the top of the slot threaded the needle past Knoxville netminder Brian Billett to make it 1-0. Peoria doubled the lead with another power-play goal at 2:44 of the first when Pszenyczny one-timed a drifting puck from the left circle past Billett for the 2-0 lead.

The Ice Bears got on the board at 4:09 of the first when a scramble in front of the Peoria goal resulted in a rebound that Doug Reid flipped past a sprawled out David Jacobson to make it 2-1. The Rivermen extended their lead back to a two-goal advantage at 6:54 of the first when Cody Dion's pass through the slot found Mike Gurtler for a backdoor tap-in to make it 3-1. The Ice Bears cut the lead in half again at 12:50 of the first when a wrist-shot from Reid went over Jacobson's shoulder and under the crossbar to make it 3-2.

The score remained 3-2 in favor of Peoria until the 2:10 mark of the second period when a Chris Wilson marker pushed Peoria's lead to 4-2. The Ice Bears trimmed the Rivermen lead back to one at 3:37 of the second when a goalmouth scramble saw a rebound lifted over Jacobson by Zach LaRue to make it 4-3. After LaRue's goal Jacobson was replaced in goal by Kyle Rank, and at 14:16 of the second Mark Pustin scored for Knoxville to tie the game at 4-4.

The game went into the third period tied, and at 6:57 of the third period, an Ice Bears pass was intercepted by Matt Summers on the inside of the right circle, and he walked in to beat Billett and give Peoria a 5-4 lead. The Ice Bears retied the game at 10:42 of the third when John Clewlow's shot went over the crossbar and deflected off the back glass and rolled down Rank's back and into the net to make it 5-5.

The Rivermen retook the lead for good just 20 seconds after Clewlow's goal. Summers and Gurtler entered the Knoxville zone on the right wing, and Summers dropped a pass in the circle to Gurtler, who fired the puck past Billett to make it 6-5.

Jacobson stopped seven of 10 shots he faced in the game's first 23:37 before he was removed in favor of Rank, who saved 13 of 15 shots against to earn the win in relief. The win, Rank's third in a row, lifts his season record to 18-4-3.

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