Dennis Sievers/Peoria Rivermen
Peoria Rivermen head coach Jean-Guy Trudel has announced the signing of three players of the 2014-15 season, including the return of goaltender Eric Levine (pictured). In addition, the Rivermen have agreed to terms with defenseman Ben Oskroba and rookie forward Dan Cecka.
A native of Wheeling, Illinois, Levine made 23 appearances for the Rivermen last season, including his professional debut November 8 at Huntsville. Overall, he went 11-8-4 with a 2.70 goals against average and .912 saves rate. He also earned his first pro victory with a 2-1 win over Fayetteville on November 16.
“I am extremely excited that Jean-Guy, Kevin Tucker, and the Rivermen organization wanted me back this season,” Levine said. “I enjoyed my time there immensely last year and I know the seriousness they have towards putting a winning team on the ice.”
“There is no other team in the SPHL I would even consider playing for because I believe we will win a championship for Peoria this season. I couldn’t be more excited.”
Aside from his time with the Rivermen last season, Levine was also called up to the Central Hockey League (CHL) on two occasions and even to the American Hockey League (AHL) once. Initially, the 26-year old was loaned to the Quad Cities Mallards (CHL) on February 5, before being promoted to the Syracuse Crunch (AHL) two days later. He did not make an appearance for either team. However, Levine was called up a third time on February 24 by the Allen Americans (CHL), where he played five games and spent the reminder of his first professional season.
Prior to turning pro, the 6’3, 180-pound netminder played four years at Robert Morris University – Pittsburgh (NCAA Div. I). Over 72 collegiate games, he combined for a 30-22-11 record along with a 2.90 goals against average and a .925 save percentage. During the 2012-13 campaign, Levine appeared in 35 games and produced 19 wins as a senior.
Oskroba, 24, joined the Rivermen late last season and appeared in the final 12 regular-season games, including his professional debut February 28 against Louisiana. Overall, he recorded four points (1g, 3a) and 13 penalty minutes with a plus-8 rating. The 6’5, 220-pound defenseman also skated in each of Peoria’s three playoff contests.
Prior to turning pro, Oskroba appeared in 13 games for the University of Connecticut last season and collected two assists with 20 penalty minutes. Previously, the Chicago native spent parts of two years at Northeastern University in Boston, where he played with current Rivermen forwards Garrett Vermeersch and Steve Morra. Oskroba produced a goal and 31 penalty minutes over 31 games for the Huskies.
Oskroba was also a member of the Phoenix Polar Bears (Western States Hockey League), Walpole Express (Atlantic Junior Hockey League) and Lincoln Stars (United States Hockey League) prior to his collegiate career. Across three junior leagues, he appeared in 120 games and totaled 66 points with 245 penalty minutes.
Cecka, 24, will look to begin his pro career with the Rivermen this season after he spent the previous two years at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Over 53 games, the 5’10, 185-pound winger produced 53 points (27g, 26a), including 18 goals last season alone. Cecka also played two years at the University of Wisconsin Stout from 2010-2012, where he notched 22 points (9g, 13a) in 47 games.
A native of Woodbury, Minnesota, Cecka was drafted in the ninth round (#108 overall) of the 2008 United States Hockey League (USHL) Entry Draft by the Indiana Ice. He spent the next two seasons in the junior hockey ranks with the Ice and Owatonna Express (North American Hockey League) from 2008-2010.
Season ticket packages for the 2014-15 season are on sale now and start at just $280! To reserve your seats, call 309-676-1040 today or visit the Rivermen office located at 201 SW Jefferson Street from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday - Friday. For the latest Rivermen news and notes, follow online at www.rivermen.net or through Facebook (www.facebook.com/PeoriaRivermen) - Twitter (https://twitter.com/Peoria_Rivermen).