PEORIA, ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — The Rivermen don’t often get an 11-day break during a season.

But the players have enjoyed a nearly two-week break in Southern Professional Hockey League schedule this month.

“For as many three-game (weekend) series as we’ve had recently, it’s nice to step back from playing and let your body recoup,” said captain Alec Hagaman.

Time to knock off the rust now. The break ends when the Rivermen play three big games with Quad Cities this weekend.

“Right now, after two weeks off like this, it’s time to rev up the engines and get going,” said head coach Jean-Guy Trudel. “I have no doubt with my group we’ll be OK.”

Not only has this break given the players a chance to recharge their batteries, it’s given them a chance to bond off the ice. In fact, the team held an axe throwing competition.

And the competition was fierce.

“You can’t take the competitor out of guys,” said goalie Eric Levine with a laugh. “You can see right away, guys want to win.”

The players went to Gone Axe Throwing in Peoria last week and some friendly competition. They agree that had a blast, they disagree on who’s best throwing an axe.

Zach Wilke/Rivermen defenseman: “If I’m putting a No. 1, I’m Mr. Clutch when it comes to ax throwing,” said defenseman Zach Wilke. “Everybody says I’m not the best. I was the best.”

Hagaman disagreed.

“The worse guy was probably Zach Wilke,” Hagaman said. “But we won’t go that far.”