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Rivermen Unable to Buck Bulls in Shootout Saturday

March 17, 2019 - Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) - Peoria Rivermen News Release

Pelham, AL - For the second consecutive evening the Peoria Rivermen and Birmingham Bulls battled to a 3-3 tie through regulation and overtime, and for the second straight night the Bulls prevailed in the shootout tiebreaker Saturday at Pelham Civic Complex. The overtime loss, Peoria's fourth straight overall defeat, drops the Rivermen to 35-7-8 on the season before next weekend's home-and-home pair with the Quad City Storm.

The Bulls opened the scoring with a power-play tally just past the halfway point of the game's opening period. With Rivermen captain Alec Hagaman boxed for high sticking, Bulls winger Austin Daae sent a shot netward from the right-wing circle. Rivermen netminder Storm Phaneuf made the initial save, and the ensuing rebound sparked a net-front scramble that former Peoria winger Jacob Barber finished for a 1-0 lead at 13:55 of the period.

The Rivermen tied the game with a power-play goal of their own early in the second period. With Bulls defenseman Garrett Schmitz in the box for slashing, Rivermen center Justin Greenberg took a pass in the left corner of the Bulls zone, and fed the puck to the dot, where Ben Blasko's one-timer beat Birmingham netminder Mavric Parks for a 1-1 score at 7:18 of the stanza.

The Bulls retook the lead just past the midpoint of the second period. With the teams skating at even strength, Barber waited atop the Peoria crease, took a feed from teammate Cole GOlka in the left corner and stuffed it under Phaneuf's pads for a 2-1 lead at 11:35 of the second period.

The Bulls built their lead to 3-1 with an odd-man rush midway through the third frame. Bulls winger Cole Golka carried into the left wing of the Rivermen zone on a 2-on-1, and his wrister sailed past Phaneuf's glove for 3-1 at 9:59 of the period.

Peoria pulled to within a goal at 11:17 of the third period when defenseman Ralfs Grinbergs took a pass from teammate Brandon Parrone at the left point, carried to the circle, and his centering pass was dunked home by Rivermen captain Alec Hagaman for a 3-2 score.

Peoria tied the game at three goals apiece at 14:34 of the third when Rivermen winger Joe Kalisz carried from the right-wing corner of the Birmingham zone, walked to the netfront, and lofted a backhander over Parks' shoulder. The game remained tied through the remainder of regulation and overtime and went to a shootout for the second straight night.

Each goaltender turned aside the first shootout attempt before Barber tallied for Birmingham in the second round. Parks went on to stop all four attempts he faced, and Golka sealed the victory as Birmingham's fifth shooter.

Phaneuf suffered the loss in net, stopping 19 of 22 shots faced in regulation and overtime. The defeat drops Phaneuf to 13-2-3 this season and 1-2 in shootout games.

Notes: Kalisz notched a goal in his second game back from Injured Reserve...Blasko's goal gives him markers in back-to-back games and extends his league-leading point total to 59...Greenberg's assist on Blasko's goal gives him five points in his last four games...The Rivermen return to action next Friday night when they play the regular-season's final road game against the Quad City Storm in Moline,IL...Friday's game is set to start at 7:10 PM Central Time...The broadcast of the game can be heard, starting with the pregame show at 6:50, at http://mixlr.com/peoria-rivermen/

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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