PEORIA, Ill. – Playoff time is here! For the second year in a row, the Peoria Rivermen will begin their playoff season with a matchup against the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs. Here, we’ll be taking a look at how each team performed during the regular season, how the games against the two teams played out, and what each side needs to do and avoid doing to advance to the President’s Cup Semifinals.
Final Regular Season Records:
Peoria Rivermen: 40-7-9, 1st SPHL
Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs: 28-24-4, 5th SPHL
Series Schedule: (Home Team in BOLD CAPS and all times local):
Game 1 – Wednesday, April 10 – Peoria at ROANOKE 7:05 pm ET
Game 2 – Friday, April 12 – Roanoke at PEORIA 7:15 pm CT
Game 3 – Saturday, April 13 – Roanoke at PEORIA 7:15 pm CT*
*=> If Necessary
Season Series Recap:
The Peoria Rivermen took the season series over the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs 3-0-0, sweeping Roanoke in a three-in-three set at Carver Arena. Peoria won by scores of 8-2, 4-3 (OT), and 4-2 between February 22nd and 24th.
What the Peoria Rivermen need to do and not do to win:
DO: Keep the Pressure – The Rivermen led the SPHL in shots per game and had the fewest shots against, which was a big factor in their historic 40-win season. Keeping the pressure in the offensive zone and peppering the opposing goaltender will be a crucial factor for success. Get guys like Ben Blasko, Austin Vieth, and Justin Greenberg plenty of opportunities to shoot, as they have the highest shooting efficiency on the team. Doing this will bring success and help Peoria advance to the semifinals for the fourth straight season.
DO NOT: Take the foot off the pedal – Peoria has been caught plenty of times throughout the season with their foot off the gas pedal and not giving it everything they have, which led to leads and games being lost. In the playoffs, they’ll be more costly than before, so the Rivermen need to avoid not playing a full 60 minutes or Peoria’s season will end in disappointment once again.
What the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs need to do and not do to win:
DO: Force turnovers – This is one of the few weaknesses of the Rivermen this season. Many of the goals scored against them down the stretch were off of bad turnovers on their end of the ice. The more turnovers the Dawgs force, the higher the chance they’ll have of knocking off the Rivermen.
DO NOT: Let Peoria wear you down – Peoria has speed and physicality, a combo that can wear down opponents. Which also leads to getting back into games or putting games further out of reach. Staying sharp-minded, managing line changes well, and not letting Peoria get under your skin will be vital in making sure the Dawgs keep the Rivermen in check and give a better shot of moving onto the semifinals.