$2 BEERS AND HALF-PRICE TICKETS HIGHLIGHT WEEKEND VS. SURGE
|Fri, Mar, 7||7:15 pm CST||Vs. Surge||CD Country 107.9 FM / Live Video|
|Sat, Mar. 8||7:15 pm CST||Vs. Surge|
|Sun, Mar. 9||3:15 pm CST||Vs. Surge|
NASH FM NIGHT AND $2 DRAFT BEERS
On Friday, 500 lower bowl seats and 1,000 upper bowl seats will be sold at just half-price courtesy of NASH FM 97.3. However, fans must mention "NASH FM" at the Peoria Civic Center box office to take advantage of the discounted price. In addition, Friday is another $2 draft beer night courtesy of Centerplate Catering. Fans must be 21 or older to participate.
FUN ON THE RUN FAMILY DAY
On Sunday, the Rivermen will present the final "Fun on the Run Family Day" this season, featuring $1 upper bowl tickets for kids 12 and under, $3 kid's meals (hot dog, chips and a drink), plus an appearance from Bob the Builder. Additionally, giant inflatables, face painting by Wild Style Design Co. and balloons by The Unique Twist will begin at 1:30 p.m. in the Civic Center's Great Hall. Following the game, all fans are invited to skate with the entire team on the Carver Arena ice.
THE STORY COMING IN
The Rivermen (24-17-6, 54 points) enter a three-game weekend series against the Mississippi Surge (21-22-5, 47 points) on a two-game slide and with losses in five of their last six games. On Tuesday, Peoria struck first with Matt Viola’s second power play goal this season, but allowed a pair of goals on a five-minute major late in the third period and suffered a 4-2 loss to Bloomington. Overall, Peoria currently sits in a two-way tie with the Mississippi RiverKings for fourth place in the standings.
With just nine games left in their inaugural SPHL regular season, Peoria’s magic number to clinch a President’s Cup playoff spot is ‘four’ – points earned by Peoria or missed by ninth-place Fayetteville. As of today, the Rivermen are a comfy 15 points ahead of the FireAntz, who would miss the playoffs if they started now. The Mississippi Surge currently hold the final spot in the playoff race with a magic number of ‘10’ – points earned by the Surge or missed by Fayetteville.
RIVERMEN VS. SURGE
Friday will mark the fourth meeting this year between the Rivermen and Surge, who play a total of seven times. Through three games, Peoria leads the season-series 2-0-1, but fell to the Surge in overtime in their last meeting on Feb. 21 when Lucas LaBelle scored with just 14.4 seconds remaining. Prior to the loss, Peoria swept a pair of games Jan. 3-4 in Biloxi - where the series will conclude Mar. 16.
VIEW FROM BILOXI
The Surge enter Friday’s contest in eighth place in the SPHL standings and on a four-game losing streak overall. In fact, Mississippi’s last win came against Peoria on Feb. 21 (3-2 in overtime). They last won in regulation Feb. 9, when they beat Huntsville 2-1 at home. Offensively, the Surge are led by winger Kyle Kudroch, who is tops on the team in goals (19), assists (17) and points (36). In net, Mathieu Dugas is a team-best 13-10-2, with a 3.26 GAA and .901 saves rate. Overall, the Surge are in their fifth SPHL season, where they won their only President’s Cup title during the 2010-11 season.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
The Rivermen return to the comfort of Carver Arena on Friday, where the team has earned at least one point in nine straight games. In fact, the last time Peoria lost in regulation at home was Jan. 19 to Bloomington, while the franchise has not earned points in 10 straight at home since Feb. 22, 2009 – Apr. 3, 2009. Additionally, center Garrett Vermeersch has collected at least one point in each of his last nine at Carver Arena, while goaltender Kyle Rank has not lost at home in regulation since Jan. 19 – a span of seven straight starts.
TOP OF THE “RANK-INGS”
Speaking of Rank, the 26-year-old continues to lead all SPHL netminders in goals against average (1.97), save percentage (.937) and shutouts (six). However, with Eric Levine likely gone for the year to CHL Allen, Rank has started seven straight games between the pipes and is just 2-3-2 over that span. In those games, Rank has collected a 1.97 goals against average with a .936 save percentage.
WELCOME TO THE PROS
Vermeersch collected his team-high 12th multi-point game of the year on Tuesday when he notched two assists at Bloomington. Overall, the first-year pro has leaped to fourth in league scoring with 49 points, while his 25 goals are best among rookies. In addition, his eight power play goals and six game-winners are also tops among first-year players.
HAT TRICK WEEKEND
Peoria will begin its eighth “three games in three days” series on Friday, and third in the last four weekends. Overall, Peoria is just 7-10-4 in three-game series’ this year and has been outscored 63-51 in those contests. After Sunday, the Rivermen will play just one more three-in-three this year, which arrives next weekend during a road trip to Pensacola and Mississippi (Surge).