By Brian Weidler, "Game Time" Prospect Department
"FULL STEAM AHEAD, CAP'N..."
The All-Star Break is over, and the Peoria Rivermen are one of the hotter clubs in the AHL as the league passes the midpoint of the year and teams rev up for the home stretch.
After last night's 5-3 win in Chicago against the arch-rival Wolves, the Rivermen are above the .500 mark (20-19-3-2) for the first time since mid-December, and their 6-3-1-0 record in their last ten games has pushed the club into third place in the Midwest Division, and 11th overall in the 15-club Western Conference.
"...this is a different team, a better team, than we were at the start of the year." -- Jake Allen
There's still a lot of work for the Rivermen to do, and now is the time for Dave Allison's charges to start that work in earnest. As Peoria Journal-Star beat writer Dave Eminian points out in THIS article, the Rivermen still have nine games to play in February, and six of those games are against division opponents Milwaukee, Chicago, and Rockford.
The Rivermen will likely have to win the Midwest Division, or be a very close second, in order to qualify for the Calder Cup playoffs. So there's no better time than now to start putting away those divisional games, and to start making a move in the division race.
THE WEEK IN REVIEW, PEORIA EDITION:
Peoria 5 at Chicago 3, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013.
LINK to AHL game sheet.
"Rivermen drop Wolves, 5-3, with 2 goals in final 59 seconds." LINK to article at the Peoria Journal-Star website.
THE WEEK AHEAD, PEORIA EDITION:
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 ... Game Time 11:00 AM CST at Allstate Arena, Rosemont, IL. NHL Affiliate: Vancouver Canucks.
Friday, February 8, 2013 ... Game Time 7:05 PM CST at BMO Harris Bank Center, Rockford, IL. NHL Affiliate: Chicago Blackhawks.
ICEMEN RUNNING AGROUND...
The Rivs' ECHL affiliate in Evansville is currently headed in the opposite direction from their big brothers in Peoria.
The IceMen are 3-6-1-0 in their last ten games, and a 3-1 loss to the Elmira (NY) Jackals last night was Evansville's fifth loss in their last six games. Their last win in regulation was a 4-1 win over in-state rivals Fort Wayne back on Jan. 9, and their three wins since that date have all been either in overtime, or by way of a shootout.
Rookie goaltender Paul Karpowich has stepped up his game somewhat for Evansville since the change of the calendar from 2012 to 2013. Karpowich has made nine appearances for the Icemen in calendar year 2013, and has managed a 2.54 GAA and 92.4% saves rate in those games. He has not gotten much goal support from his teammates, however, and has a 3-5-1 record in that stretch.
THE WEEK IN REVIEW, EVANSVILLE EDITION:
Evansville 1 at Toledo 4, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013. LINK to ECHL game sheet.
Evansville 5 vs. Cincinnati 4 (SO), Friday, Feb. 1, 2013. LINK to ECHL game sheet.
Evansville 1 vs. Elmira 3, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013. LINK to ECHL game sheet.
THE WEEK AHEAD, EVANSVILLE EDITION:
Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 ... Game Time 7:00 PM EST at Wings Stadium, Kalamzoo, MI. NHL Affiliate: Vancouver Canucks.
Friday, Feb. 8, 2013 ... Game Time 7:05 PM EST at North Charleston Coliseum, North Charleston, SC. NHL Affiliate: Boston Bruins.
Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013 ... Game Time 7:05 PM EST at The Arena at Gwinnett Center, Duluth, GA. NHL Affiliate: Phoenix Coyotes.