Facebook Twitter



The night before, the Peoria Rivermen considered themselves humiliated; they did something about it Wednesday in the Salt Palace. At the same time, the Golden Eagles could have used a little humility; Coach Bob Francis said some swallowed pride might have given his team a chance to win its second straight game.

Peoria took it, 6-3."Personally, I couldn't be more proud of them because they were certainly humiliated last night," Peoria Coach Wayne Thomas said of a Tuesday-night 7-3 Eagle win. "I thought they were really outplayed badly, and I thought Salt Lake was really good and had a lot of jump.

"But they rallied."

The frustrated Eagles retaliated.

Francis was not proud.

He lost for the fifth time in this young season to Thomas, his former boss. Francis played for and was an assistant to Thomas, who coached the Eagles for two years.

"They did what they had to to win, but I think we beat ourselves," said Francis.

Discipline, which has won games for the Eagles and kept them close in others, was absent Wednesday, Francis said. He held a postgame meeting to tell his players that.

They didn't have the mental control to play the proper positions. "We were working hard in the defensive zone at times, but we lost our discipline with the third guy high. He got sucked down. And a result they got three on twos," Francis said. "We weren't patient in the offensive zones; we weren't patient with our system."

And they were selfish. It's an old theme with this club that goes back to last year.

" . . . Again, with taking penalties," said Francis.

" . . . Again, with taking penalties," he repeated for emphasis.

"You can't put personal satisfaction to retaliate above the purpose of the team," Francis said. "Until we improve in that area, we're going to have this feeling right here."

Peoria led 2-0 and 3-1 in the first period, but Eagle rookie Stephane Matteau, who had the first two-goal game of his pro career, got his first score at 14:29 of the first to trim the lead to 3-2.

Midway through the second period, the Eagles began peppering Peoria goalie Curt Joseph, closing in on him in a scrambly situation until the Salt Lakers were in too close. Riverman Terry MacLean swiped a loose puck and went the distance the other way, snapping a game-shifting 4-2 goal between Steve Guenette's skates.

"Just before the fourth goal, they were all over us," noted Thomas. Afterward, "We realized we bit the bullet, and they probably said, `What do we have to do?' Momentum swings because of a bounce here or there."

"That was obviously a big goal," said Francis. "When you're down two, the chore of coming back is tougher.

"But we still had a chance to win."

Matteau's second, on a power play at 17:03 of the second, made it a 4-3.

But, said Francis, "Late in the third period, we lost our discipline and took our chance to win it away."

He had in mind penalties taken by Randy Bucyk (slashing) and Marc Bureau (high sticking). Bucyk had been cross-checked by Darin Smith seven minutes earlier, and Bureau was sent to the ice face-first by a high stick from Rik Wilson three minutes earlier.

The Eagle penalties, Bucyk's at 14:54 and Bureau's at 15:51, gave Peoria a two-man advantage on a power play, and the Rivermen's Kevin Miehm scored on a rebound from in close while referee Derek Martin had a hand up indicating yet a third minor penalty against the Eagles would soon be called.