Another Salt Lake-Peoria hockey game at the Salt Palace Thursday night finished with another 5-1 result.
Unlike two nights earlier, the Rivermen were the winners this time, over a Golden Eagle team that failed to answer the bell. That is, until the final period when five fights broke out, long after the issue had been decided.The Eagles looked nothing like the team that had won eight of 11 previous games in November. In fact, when asked if he could say anything positive about his club's performance, Eagle Coach Bob Francis answered a flat "No."
"They played better than we did, plain and simple. They were good and we were bad . . . in every area," he said.
The loss broke a 4-game winning streak for the Eagles and the win ended Peoria's 3-game losing streak, which followed an 18-game winning streak.
"I'm proud," said Peoria Coach Bob Plager. "I thought we really skated well, dumped it in, took a lot of checks and executed."
The Eagles took a 1-0 lead after one period on an unassisted goal by Bryan Deasley. He stole the puck from Peoria's Andy Rhysha at the center line and took it all the way and beat Pat Jablonski.
"I didn't think we were that good even when we were up 1-0," said Francis. "I think it was camouflaging how we were playing."
Peoria struck for three second-period goals by Kevin Miehm, Tom Tilley and Richard Pion, the first two on the power play. In between the second and third goals, the Eagles staged a flurry of shots on Jablonski, about a half dozen in a minute's time. But they couldn't find the net and after that the Eagles' intensity seemed to drop considerably.
The Rivermen added a fourth goal in the opening 20 seconds of the third period by Jim Vesey and another late in the period as Miehm scored his second.
In between those goals were a bunch of fights, the most noteworthy a bloody duel between Salt Lake's newest enforcer Darren Banks and Peoria's Tony Twist, considered one of the league's toughest fighters.
Francis didn't feel his team was fighting out of frustration in the final period. "Anytime you have two games in a row with two teams, the animosity is going to be built up. As a result there were some altercations."
Salt Lake plays Phoenix Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Salt Palace.
"The good part is that we get to come right back at it and redeem ourselves," said Francis.