Dressed in tuxedo jerseys, Peoria Rivermen list their New Year's resolutions, beat Bobcats

·4 min read
Mitch McPherson of the Rivermen pretends to rip open his tuxedo jersey after scoring Peoria's third goal in the final minutes of the third period Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022 at Carver Arena. The Rivermen defeated the Bobcats 3-1.
Mitch McPherson of the Rivermen pretends to rip open his tuxedo jersey after scoring Peoria's third goal in the final minutes of the third period Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022 at Carver Arena. The Rivermen defeated the Bobcats 3-1.

PEORIA — For the Peoria Rivermen, the clothes make the man-handling.

Dressed in special jerseys for the second straight night, the Rivermen buried Vermilion County 44-10 in shots on the way to a 3-1 victory Saturday in a rematch before 2,878 at Carver Arena.

The Rivermen were dressed in tuxedo-themed jerseys with a nod to 2022 under way, and they ran their win streak over the Bobcats to four, during which they've out-scored the Danville-based team 23-5.

Three of those wins have come while Peoria was wearing camouflage jerseys, 40th-season celebration jerseys and tuxedo jerseys.

"I didn't like that they were hanging around with us that long," said Rivermen winger Mitch McPherson, whose goal with just over two minutes sealed the deal. "I'm glad we could finish it."

Peoria Rivermen New Year's resolutions

Afterward, the Rivermen players went back onto the ice for a post-game auction of their jerseys. Standing around with their tuxedo tops, they talked about their resolutions for 2022.

More: Remembering Peoria Rivermen of the past as they celebrate 40th season with a big win

BOX SCORE: Rivermen 3, Vermilion County 1 | STANDINGS: SPHL

Captain Alec Hagaman: "I'm resolved to be a better father and a better husband."

Goaltender Eric Levine: "Be more present, more mindful and aware. I want to try to stay more in the moment."

Defenseman Brandon McMartin, just back from an IR stint: "Get healthier, and stay healthy."

Defenseman Nick Neville: "Normalcy."

Center Alec Baer: "Well, a championship in Peoria for one thing. But I also want to be a really good person, put others over myself."

Right wing Marcel Godbout: "Build better relationships with the people around me."

Left wing Mitch McPherson: "Get better every day and find positive relationships."

Defenseman Zach Wilkie: "I'm going to read more, get away from watching so many movies. I like to read religious texts, I'm into those."

Center Nathan Chasteen: "Better health. And more Rivermen wins. I hope I get to be a part of it."

More: With the Rivermen: How Peoria and SPHL have handled the COVID pandemic

On the ice

Marcel Godbout gave Peoria a 1-0 lead 9:55 after faceoff when he skated off the left boards and slipped the puck between goaltender Ben Churchfield's pads for an unassisted goal.

The Bobcats tied it at 14:24 when Mike Mercurio skated off the right endline and into the crease, then wrapped the puck far side past goaltender Eric Levine.

The Rivermen took a 2-1 lead 58 seconds into the second period on a goal from Mike Laidley — who had his first pro hat trick in Friday's 8-2 win.

The Rivermen were awarded a seven-minute power play 76 seconds later when 6-foot-5, 230-pound Vermilion County defenseman Ryan Devine took out Peoria winger Paul-Antione Deslauriers and was ejected for hooking and a major penalty for slew-footing.

The Rivermen lost two minutes of that 11 seconds later when McPherson was boxed for hooking.

More: The Grinders: Rivermen coffee club

They built a 26-8 shooting lead on the balance of the power play but could not add to their lead.

Peoria ran its shot lead to 44-10 late in the third period and put the game out of reach when McPherson sent a shot from below the hashmarks past Churchfield's blocker at 17:38 for 3-1.

Mike Laidley (21) of the Rivermen flips the puck over Vermilion goalie Ben Churchfield in the second period Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022 at Carver Arena. The Rivermen beat the Bobcats 3-1.
Mike Laidley (21) of the Rivermen flips the puck over Vermilion goalie Ben Churchfield in the second period Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022 at Carver Arena. The Rivermen beat the Bobcats 3-1.

River Readings

The Rivermen and Vermilion County clashed for fifth time this season. Vermilion County has never played with the lead. Rivermen have led for 195:25 of a possible 305 minutes in the series so far. ... Rivermen center Alec Baer had his six-game point streak (10 points) snapped. ... The Rivermen will close out their three-game weekend homestand on Sunday with a 3:15 p.m. game against rival Quad City. Kids 12-under can get an upper bowl ticket for $7. The team will host a family festival before the game, with inflatables to play on, face-painting and balloon art. ... Fans are invited to a free post-game skate with the Rivermen on Sunday, and can gather pictures and autographs from the grandstand as well.

Dave Eminian is the Journal Star sports columnist, and covers Bradley men's basketball, the Rivermen and Chiefs. He writes the Cleve In The Eve sports column for pjstar.com. Reach him at 686-3206 or deminian@pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @icetimecleve.

This article originally appeared on Journal Star: Peoria Rivermen hockey, dressed in tuxedo jerseys, list resolutions

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