PREVIEW: RIVERMEN VISIT BILOXI
|Fri, Jan. 3||7:05 pm CST||@ MS Surge||CD Country 107.9 FM / Live Video|
|Sat, Jan. 4||7:05 pm CST||@ MS Surge||CD Country 107.9 FM / Live Video|
PEORIA AT MISSISSIPPI SURGE
Friday marks the inaugural matchup between the Rivermen (11-10-3) and Mississippi Surge (12-13-0), who will meet seven times this season – with four of those meetings taking place in Biloxi. The Surge will travel to Peoria for the first time for a three-game series March 7-9.
THE STORY COMING IN
The Rivermen enter this weekend on a one-game win streak and tied for the hottest team in the SPHL over the last 10 games (6-4-0). Last time out, goaltender Kyle Rank (6-2-0) stopped all 35 shots en route to Peoria’s first-ever SPHL shutout, and Rank’s second of the year, as the Rivermen defeated the Bloomington Thunder on New Year’s Day at home, 3-0. Jeremiah Ketts, in his Peoria debut, Nick Prockow, and Taylor Larsen notched the goals for the Rivermen.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Peoria begins a three-game road trip on Friday, which will run through January 10 at Bloomington. Overall, the Rivermen will play four of their next five games on the road, and are currently in the middle of a stretch where the team plays seven of eight games away from Carver Arena. Entering Friday, Peoria is 5-6-1 on the road, and is led offensively by Nick Prockow (4g, 5a) and Tyler Amburgey (4g, 3a) away from home.
VIEW FROM BILOXI
The Mississippi Surge enter Friday’s contest on a one-game win streak following a 5-2 win over the Pensacola Ice Flyers on the road last Saturday. Overall, the Surge are led offensively this season by wingers Kyle Kudroch (10g, 7a, 17pts) and Mark Thorburn (10g, 6a, 16pts). Between the pipes, Mathieu Dugas (8-7-0) leads the team the eight wins in 16 appearances, while Dan Clarke is 4-6-0 with a 3.20 GAA and a .908 saves rate. Mississippi is currently in its fifth season in the SPHL, where it won the regular-season title during its inaugural season in 2009-10.
CALL-UPS RATTLE RIVERMEN ROSTER
On Monday, the Rivermen lost two of their top three scorers when Garrett Vermeersch (ECHL Fort Wayne) and Parker Stanfield (ECHL Florida) were each called up for the second time this season. Vermeersch led the Rivermen in both goals (14) and points (27), and was on a career-high 10-game point streak (8g, 8a) at the time of his promotion. Stanfield on the other hand led the team with 16 assists and was second on the roster with 49 PIM. Against Bloomington, Vermeersch and Stanfield had combined for 26 of Peoria’s 98 points this season (26.5%).
FINDING A NEW HOME
In order to fill the void up front, the Rivermen made a number of moves this past week including the signing of forwards Phil Bushbacher and Jeremiah Ketts. Prior to joining the Rivermen, Bushbacher played 20 games with the St. Charles Chill (CHL), where he notched four goals and four assists this season. Ketts was initially signed to a training camp contract with Peoria, but never made it to central Illinois until Wednesday, when he was signed to a three-game tryout. Finding success early, Ketts notched two points (1g, 1a) in his debut on New Year’s against Bloomington.
POWER PLAY SLOWING DOWN
Dating back to Dec. 21, the Rivermen have scored just three goals in their last 36 chances on the power play (8.3%). In addition, Peoria is just 8-for-86 on the power play (9.3%) against all other teams this year not named Bloomington. However, center Nick Prockow is currenlty tied for the league-lead with seven power play goals.
On Wednesday, the Rivermen traded skill center Corey Tamblyn to Fayetteville for gritty forward Aaron McGill, known as one of the toughest customers in the SPHL. McGill, 24, collected 11 points (1g, 10a) and 51 PIM over 19 games this season for the FireAntz. In addition, the Salem, Oregon native produced a whopping 249 PIM over 47 games for the Huntsville Havoc last year. McGill is currently in his fourth professional season.