Peoria, Ill.: In an extremely back-and-forth game that saw Evansville take the lead four separate times with Peoria neutralizing each lead, the Thunderbolts battled their way to a 5-4 shootout win over the Rivermen on Friday night at Peoria Civic Center. The Thunderbolts’ next home game will be on Sunday, December 31st against the Macon Mayhem, puck drop at 7:00pm CT.
After a scoreless first period, Bair Gendunov opened the scoring at 1:43 of the second period off a Rivermen turnover, assisted by Myles Abbate and Tommy Stang. The goal extended Gendunov’s point streak to eight consecutive games and counting. The Rivermen tied the game at 2:55 off a deflection goal by Andrew Durham. At 6:06, Mike Ferraro scored on a breakaway from Scott Kirton to put Evansville ahead 2-1, before a power play goal from Zach Wilkie at 10:13 tied the game at 2-2. Late in the second period, Ferraro scored once again off a net-front scramble from Lincoln Hatten and Nick Prestia at 18:34 to again put Evansville ahead, 3-2 after two periods.
1:30 into the third period, Joseph Widmar scored to tie the game once again for Peoria at 3-3. A few minutes later, a low-angle shot by Brendan Harrogate put Evansville ahead 4-3 at 5:21, assisted by Hayden Ford. Once again, Peoria managed to tie the game as Alec Baer scored on a late 5-on-3 at 17:04. After a scoreless overtime highlighted by a key save from Cole Ceci on an Alec Hagaman breakaway in the final minute, the game went to a shootout. Gendunov and Kirton scored for Evansville while Ceci stopped 4 of 5 Rivermen attempts, and the Thunderbolts came up victorious and won their 4th straight game, now only a single point under the playoff line with 6 wins in their past 8 games.
Ferraro finished with a pair of goals, while Gendunov and Harrogate scored one goal each, along with Kirton scoring the shootout-winning goal. Cole Ceci picked up his 6th win of the season by stopping 23 of 27 shots in regulation and overtime. The Thunderbolts and Rivermen meet again on Saturday, December 23rd at Peoria Civic Center.
Individual game tickets and group packages are on sale for this 2023-24 season. Season tickets for the 2023-24 season are also on sale. Call 812-422-BOLT or visit our all-new website (www.evansvillethunderbolts.com) for details.
About Evansville Thunderbolts: The Evansville Thunderbolts is the area’s only professional hockey team. The Thunderbolts are a proud member of the SPHL. The team is owned and operated by VW Sports, L.L.C, a subsidiary of VenuWorks, Inc. www.evansvillethunderbolts.com