Rivermen Headlines

Published: December 26th 2013 @ 11:05 AM




Date                      Time                    Opponent               Broadcast                    

Thurs, Dec. 26      6:30pm CST        @ Columbus         CD Country 107.9 FM / Live Video

Fri, Dec. 27           6:30pm CST        @ Columbus         CD Country 107.9 FM Live Video

Sat, Dec. 28           7:05pm CST         @ Huntsville          CD Country 107.9 FM Live Video



All three broadcasts this weekend on CD Country 107.9 FM in Peoria will be tape-delayed approximately three hours and will begin around 9:30 p.m. CST. The video stream on America One Sports and the internet radio stream will continue to be live.



The Rivermen (9-7-3, 21 points) enter Thursday’s contest as the hottest team in the SPHL since Nov. 22, with a 6-1-2 record (.778) during that stretch. Only Fayetteville (7-2-1, .750) comes anywhere close. Overall, Peoria has won six of its last seven games and has earned points in eight of its last nine. Last weekend, Peoria took two of three games from Bloomington, but fell in the series finale, 4-1 on Sunday. Rookie sensation Garrett Vermeersch notched Peoria’s only goal, while Eric Levine (6-5-3) suffered the loss, which snapped a five-game win streak.



Thursday will be the first-ever meeting between the Rivermen and Cottonmouths (8-12-1, 17 points), who will face each other four times this season including a pair of games at Carver Arena February 7 and 8. On Saturday, Peoria will travel to Huntsville and battle the Havoc (11-9-1, 23 points) for the fourth and final time during the regular season. The Rivermen currently lead the series 2-1 after sweeping the Havoc in a pair of games at home Dec. 7-8.



Peoria opens a four-game road trip this weekend, beginning Thursday in Columbus, Georgia and ending on New Year’s Eve in Bloomington. Overall, the Rivermen will play seven of their next eight games on the road, including stops in Columbus and Biloxi, Mississippi for the first time this year. Peoria is 4-3-1 on the road and is led offensively by Garrett Vermeersch (2g, 8a) and Nick Prockow (4g, 5a) away from Carver Arena.



The Columbus Cottonmouths have been a member of the Southern Professional Hockey League since 2004. Overall, the team has won two President’s Cup titles including the inaugural championship during the 2004-05 season. Previously, Columbus was a member of the Central Hockey League (1996-2001) and East Coast Hockey League (2001-04). The Cottonmouths are led offensively by left wing Matt Gingera (9g, 11a, 20pts) and rookie winger Tory Allan (19pts), who is fourth in the league in rookie scoring.



On Monday, the SPHL announced Garrett Vermeersch as its Easton Player of the Week for Dec. 16-22. The Macomb, Michigan native combined for eight points (4g, 4a) in three games against Bloomington last weekend, including a two-goal, three-point showing on his 24th birthday on Saturday. Overall, Vermeersch leads the Rivermen this season in both goals (13) and points (24), and is currently on a season-high seven-game point streak which began Nov. 29. Vermeersch also has goals in each of his last four games.



Aside from Garrett Vermeersch, 23-year-old winger Parker Stanfield is arguably Peoria’s hottest player at this point in the season. Over the last 10 games, Stanfield has equaled Vermeersch’s 15 points to lead the team and has earned at least one point in five of his last six games – 10 points (1g, 9a) during that span. Both forwards spent time in the ECHL this month on call-ups (Vermeersch in Greenville and Stanfield in South Carolina).



On Wednesday, Dec. 18, the Rivermen struck gold when they acquired goaltender Kyle Rank from Fayetteville in a trade for future considerations. Rank, 26, is currently third in the SPHL with a 2.25 GAA and has posted a 5-1-0 record this year. In addition, Rank has already faced Columbus twice this season (both in late November with FAY) and has recorded two wins, one shutout, a 1.00 GAA and a .966 saves rate. He is expected to make his Rivermen debut this weekend.



Eric Levine has earned the win in five of his last six starts and has only lost in regulation once since Nov. 21. In fact, over his last eight starts, the Wheeling, Illinois native is 5-1-2 with a 2.45 GAA and a .919 saves rate.



The Rivermen have netted at least four goals in six of their last seven games and have also outscored their opposition 31-18 over that span.


FUN FACTS: The Rivermen are 4-1-0 in December after going 3-6-3 in November….Peoria is 6-1-0 when scoring first and a perfect 7-0-0 when leading after two periods...Columbus, Georgia is 779 miles from Peoria.