Columbus Cottonmouths

Peoria sets SPHL record in victory over Cottonmouths

The Columbus Cottonmouths had huge crowd of 7,436 cheering them on, but they couldn't stop the Peoria Rivermen from making history Saturday night at the Columbus Civic Center.

The Rivermen beat the Cottonmouths 2-1 history, breaking the SPHL record for consecutive wins with their 13th straight.

True road warriors, having not been home since the start of the new year, Peoria also has the SPHL's longest road winning streak at 11.

The Rivermen are 4-0 this season against the Snakes.

Peoria got on the board first with a short-handed goal by Steve Morra, his second short-handed goal in as many nights, at 9:33 of the first period. It was the third time the Rivermen scored a goal a man down.

Like the prior night, special teams play was the deciding factor. Peoria got its second goal on a power-play goal by Walker Wintoneak, his second goal on the odd man advantage in as many nights. That came at 11:48 of the second period.

"The short-handed goal hurt us in the first period, but I'm proud of the guys showing some resiliency and battling back," Columbus coach Jerome Bechard said. "Actually our power play looked pretty good, especially in third period, if not for an unbelievable save by (Kyle) Rank, the game is tied."

Columbus cut the deficit in half on a Shawn Bates goal, his 10th goal of the season, bringing the score to 2-1, at 15:37 of the second period.

"We know we can play with these guys," Bechard said. "We split the opening two periods, and I thought the third period was pretty even, I thought we had a few more chances than they did they're just a heck of a hockey team."

In comparison to previous clashes, Saturday's meeting was a relative quiet one as the clubs combining for only nine penalties. Peoria went 1-for-2 on the power play, while Columbus finished 0-for-3.

Rank blocked 37 of 38 shots to earn his sixth straight win.

Snakes goaltender Brandon Jaeger dropped his third straight decision. He stopped 35 of 37 shots.

Peoria's 13 consecutive wins surpasses the previous record of 12 set by the 2008 Richmond Renegades. The win Saturday also broke the old mark of 10 straight road wins set by the Pensacola Ice Flyers in 2014.

"They're a good veteran hockey team with a lot of offensive-minded guys who can move the puck quickly through the zone," Bechard said. "We have the whole package like them, we just have to fine tune and execute."

The Cottonmouths play at Fayetteville on Tuesday at 10 a.m.

Note: The Cottonmouths held their Legends Game prior to the start of the regular contest.

Saturday at Columbus Civic Center

Peoria 1 1 0--2

Columbus 0 1 0--1

First period--1, Peoria, SH-Morra (Bremner) 9:33; Penalties--Hale, Peoria (Roughing) 9:07; Bremner, Peoria (Hooking) 12:46.

Second period--2, Peoria, PP-Wintoneak (Summers) 11:48; 3, Columbus, Bates (Jackson, Rial) 15:37; Penalties--McCadden, Columbus, (Holding) 6:15; Shapiro, Columbus (Hooking) 11:21.

Third period--Penalties-Toomey, Peoria (Roughing) 6:38; Hafner, Columbus (Roughing) 6:38; Pszenyczny, Peoria (Holding) 6:58; Shapiro, Columbus (Unsportsmanlike Conduct) 6:58; Wilson, Peoria (Hooking) 11:27.

Shots on goal: Peoria 7-19-11; Columbus 20-5-13

Power plays: Peoria 1 of 2; Columbus 0 of 3

Goaltenders: Peoria, Rank (win) 60:00 20 4 13; Columbus, Jaeger (loss) 59:37 6 18 11

Referee: Sean Fernandez. Linesman: D'Loughy, Kuerston.

Time: 2:22

Attendance: 7,436

LATE FRIDAY

RIVERMEN 6, COTTONMOUTHS 3

Peoria scored two straight goals in the third period, thwarting a potential comeback and beating the Columbus Cottonmouths 6-3 on Friday night at the Columbus Civic Center.

The win was the Rivermen's 12th straight win.

Losers of three straight at home and five of their last six overall, the Snakes' home record dropped to 5-8-2.

This was the first meeting of the two teams since Dec. 19. In that game, Columbus forward Craig Simchuk skated into Peoria goalie Kyle Rank, causing him to hit a goalpost. Three suspensions were handed out to Simchuk, Garrett Lockridge and coach Jerome Bechard.

Peoria and Columbus combined for 31 penalties.

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