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Head Coach: Jean-Guy Trudel (6th season, 137-60-27) is the SPHL’s all-time winningest coach with a .672 win percentage.
Captain: Dave Pszenyczny takes the captain’s mantle for the first time in his 12-year pro career. Chezy takes over for the now-retired Dan Bremner.
Last Season: The Rivs didn’t manage the regular season three-peat, finishing third in the standings with a 32-13-11 record and setting a new league record with 11 post-regulation defeats in a season. Peoria returned to the Presidents Cup Final for the second straight season, falling to the Macon Mayhem in a two game sweep.
The Rivermen’s return to the Presidents Cup Final got off to a rough start, getting outscored 11-2 in the season-opening series at Carver Arena against the Huntsville Havoc. After a month of major roster shuffling by coach Trudel, Peoria began to get back to form. Hopes of a third-straight regular season title were dashed with a 0-4-2 skid in February, including three straight losses against the Pensacola Ice Flyers at the Bay Center – Peoria’s house of horrors. In the postseason, Peoria rolled over a toothless Knoxville Ice Bears squad in the opening round and a hard-fought three-game series against Huntsville to reach the Presidents Cup Final for the second year in a row. In the final against the Macon Mayhem, the Rivs’ ship crashed into a wall named Jordan Ruby. The Macon netminder made 64 of 66 saves, sinking Peoria’s championship hopes.
- #CupOrBust – The Rivermen are retooled for another run at the Presidents Cup. Will the third time finally be a charm?
- #KnobSave – Goaltender Eric Levine returns to Peoria after spending two seasons in the ECHL, mostly with the Colorado Eagles and Indy Fuel.
- #DivisionOne – Peoria has six rookies on the opening night roster who played NCAA division one hockey.
- No player last season scored 40 points last season in a Peoria uniform. Seven players, however, scored 30 or more points.
- The Rivermen led the SPHL as a team last season with a +252 plus/minus rating.
- Peoria netminders allowed a league-lowest 38 third-period goals last season.
- Mike Gurtler (@gurtler_mike) – The forward took a hockey sabbatical for a year before returning to Peoria for his sixth pro season.
- Ben Oskroba (@Bosskroba19) – The towering 6’5″ defenseman will be imposing his will on opposing forwards for a fourth year. Never finished a season with a minus rating.
- Connor Gorman (@conjohn92) – The second-year forward led all postseason scorers with 11 points and six goals.
Blocked and Reported
- Storm Phaneuf (@stormphaneuf) – The 13-5-1, 2.06, .924 goalie took his athletic talents to the ECHL Rapid City Rush, where he suffered a trial-by-fire at the hands of the Allen Americans as the opening night starter.
- Dan Bremner (@dbrem86) – Peoria’s captain, one of the hardest working guys on the ice, hung up the skates after a six-year career. Bremner picked up the clipboard and is an assistant coach at ACHA Ohio University.
- Brandon Greenside (@brgreenside) – The All-SPHL blueliner, like Bremner, retired from playing to begin a coaching career. Greenside is now an assistant at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta.
The Rivermen have accomplished everything in the SPHL except that one crazy thing that’s driving them wild. Third time’s a charm, boys.
What Say You?