02/08/2020 1:31 AM -
Behind a 45-save performance from Brian Billett, the Thunderbolts defeated the first-place Rivermen for a fourth time this season, 2-0, on Friday night at the Ford Center. The Thunderbolts return home on Friday, February 21st, hosting the Knoxville Ice Bears at 7:15 pm. It will be Mini Zamboni Giveaway Night presented by Rideout’s Transmission. The first 1,200 fans in attendance will receive a miniature Zamboni. For tickets, call (812)422-BOLT (2658), buy online at EvansvilleThunderbolts.com, or buy in person at the Ford Center Box Office.
Brandon Lubin would open the scoring with a power play goal 7:28 into the first period, on a shot from the blue line that bounced off the post, off the back of Rivermen goaltender Eric Levine, and into the back of the net. The goal was assisted by Austin Plevy and Derek Sutliffe. Seth Swenson would extend the lead in the second period, deflecting a wrap-around chance from Sutliffe into the net with 3:24 remaining in the second period, also assisted by Plevy. This assist would be Plevy’s 34th of the season, tying a Thunderbolts single-season record, previously held only by John Scorcia in the 2017-18 season. Two late penalties would lead to Peoria pulling Levine for a rare 6-on-3 power play opportunity, but the Thunderbolts held on to shutout Peoria for the first time in franchise history. Billett’s 45 saves would set a new franchise record for saves in a shutout victory, previously held by Parker Gahagen since this past November.
Lubin and Swenson finished with one goal each, and Sutliffe along with Plevy finished with two assists each. Billett picked up his fifth win of the season with his 45 saves, and his eighth career shutout. The Thunderbolts head to Huntsville on Saturday for a 3:00 pm face-off against the Havoc. Evansville and Peoria meet again on Thursday, February 13th, for the first of three games in four days at the Peoria Civic Center, the final three regular season meetings between the two clubs.