Peoria, Ill.: In an extremely back-and-forth game, particularly in the second period, the Thunderbolts rallied to tie twice but came up just short in a 5-4 loss to the Rivermen in Peoria on Friday night. The Thunderbolts’ next home game will be on Saturday, December 9th against the Peoria Rivermen, puck drop at 7:00pm CT.
The only goal of the first period was scored by Peoria’s Tristan Trudel at the 12:12 mark, opening the Rivermen’s Teddy Bear Toss. The other 8 combined goals in the game came in the second period, in rapid-fire order. First, Scott Kirton scored to tie the game just after a power play chance concluded at 1:26 from Mark Zhukov and Dmitry Yushkevich. The goal was Kirton’s 43rd of his Thunderbolts career, establishing a new franchise record. Less than a minute later however, Peoria scored twice in a span of 11 seconds, as Adam Keyes scored at 2:04 and 2:15 to put Peoria in front 3-1. On another power play just over two minutes later at 4:36, Chays Ruddy scored to get Evansville back to within 3-2, assisted by Bair Gendunov and Mike Ferraro. The Rivermen answered again on a power play of their own, as Alec Hagaman scored to make it a two-goal lead once again, just over a minute later at 5:41.
Almost three minutes after the Rivermen made it a 4-2 game, the Thunderbolts scored twice in only 7 seconds to tie the game, as Tommy Stang scored from Ruddy and Matt Dorsey at 8:30 to make it 4-3, followed by Gendunov scoring from Zhukov at 8:37. The goals set a new franchise record for quickest consecutive goals scored, surpassing the previous record of 10 seconds, accomplished in 2019-20. After a long stretch without scoring, the Rivermen took back the lead once again, as Trudel scored in the final minute on another power play to make it a 5-4 Rivermen lead. Despite outshooting Peoria 9-5 in the third period, the final frame of regulation went scoreless, with the 5-4 Rivermen lead becoming final.
Ruddy and Gendunov finished the night with a goal and assist each, while Stang and Kirton scored the other Evansville goals. Zhukov tallied two assists, while Cole Ceci finished with 23 saves on 28 shots. The Thunderbolts and Rivermen meet once again on Saturday, December 9th at Ford Center.