Peoria Rivermen head coach Jean-Guy Trudel has announced that the team has signed winger-defenseman Nick Metcalfe to an SPHL contract. The 23-year-old is expected to be an enforcer-type player for the Rivermen, who continue to build their physical presence on the ice.
A native of Stoneham, Massachusetts, Metcalfe attended training camp with the SPHL’s Knoxville Ice Bears. There, he fought Columbus’ Dan Amesbury during exhibition play, who is considered to be one of the top two fighters in the league. In the offseason, Metcalfe competes as a cage fighter, something several Rivermen enforcers from the past have done.
“This is big for us because it fills a role that we need,” Trudel said. “He reminds me a lot of Brad Essex from the ECHL days. He’s gritty, tough and plays a lot bigger than his height.”
Prior to turning pro, Metcalfe spent the last four years at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. In 95 collegiate games, the 5-11, 180-pounder recorded two goals, 15 assists and 144 penalty minutes. He also served as captain during his final three seasons.
Last year, Metcalfe notched six assists and a career-high 61 penalty minutes as a senior.
The move re-establishes Peoria’s roster at 18 players after Dean Yakura was placed on the 30-day IR on Monday. Yakura suffered a significant knee injury last Saturday in Peoria’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Mississippi RiverKings.
Peoria continues a 5-game road trip on Friday with a 6:05 p.m. puck drop against the Fayetteville FireAntz at the Cumberland County Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The game can be heard locally on CD Country 107.9 FM or online at www.cd1079.net. Fans can also follow along via the live video and audio stream at www.americaonesports.com.