PEORIA — The Cold War on I-74 Trophy found its inaugural resting place in the Peoria Rivermen locker room Saturday.

Commissioned by a Davenport radio station and tasked as a prize for the winner of an inaugural 16-game season series between the Rivermen and Quad City Storm in the SPHL, it rode over to the game on the Storm team bus and was delivered, graciously, by Storm head coach Dave Pszenyczny.

The Rivermen then beat expansion Quad City one last time, 4-1, before 3,778 at Carver Arena, wrapping up a season series in which, as battles go, Peoria took no prisoners.

It won't always be this easy. Both are proud organizations. The Storm will get better and the Rivermen will have to fight harder to keep this bit of rivalry hardware next year.

"It would have been nice if we could have won a few more games in the series," Pszenyczny said. "I can accept tonight's loss. We gave a strong effort against the league's best team. I hope this trophy ignites a great rivalry between us.

"We want to beat the Rivermen."

Pszenyczny joined Rivermen head coach Jean-Guy Trudel in the tunnel outside the locker rooms for a formal trophy presentation. Well, a picture, anyway.

Inside the Rivermen locker room, it sat parked on the floor until finally a photo request got the team gathered around it.

It was a brief, but welcome distraction for a 37-7-8 team that, so far ahead in first place, has been resting regulars and staging mini-conditioning camps the last two weeks.

"Nice to have it, but we're after something bigger," said Rivermen center Ben Blasko, who had six goals and 13 assists with a plus-13 rating in 15 games to lead all scorers in the season series. "We're after a championship. That's the trophy we want."

As it should be. And Peoria made progress on that journey Saturday, cutting its magic number over Birmingham to one point to clinch the SPHL regular-season points championship.

That'll bring another William B. Coffey Cup to Peoria as regular-season champs. But that's not really the one they are after either, as they prepare to chase a fourth consecutive appearance in the President's Cup Finals.

The game had a sharp edge in the early going as former Rivermen defenseman Kristaps Nimanis jawed and shoved with Peoria enforcer Dennis Sicard — who stuck his glove in his face and yanked on Nimanis' nose. Later, former Rivermen teammates Guillaume Naud and Vincent Beaudry fought.

Joe Kalisz took a perfect feed from Blasko on the fly in the right circle and hit an open net before goaltender Peter Di Salvo could slide across at 15:47 to give the Rivermen a 1-0 first-period lead.

The Rivermen made it 2-0 at 17:20 when Pijus Rulevicius sniped from the right circle over Di Salvo's glove and into the top right corner of the net.

Peoria defenseman Ben Oskroba finished a prolonged cycle in the Quad City zone with a drive from inside the center of the blueline that sailed past Di Salvo through a screen at 2:41 of the second period.

The Rivermen put it out of reach at 7:16 of the third period when Beau Walker buried a one-timer on the move during a two-on-one break off a feed from Ryan Siiro.

The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Siiro, in his second game back from an entire season in the ECHL, notched three assists and was a dominating force.

"The game has more flow in the ECHL, while here you have to know how to get yourself to the right spot," Siiro said. "We're just worried about what we're doing here, nothing else, just getting ourselves ready for the playoffs."

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RIVER READINGS: Rivermen defenseman Jake Hamilton was suspended two games by the SPHL on Saturday morning for his retaliation on Quad City's Mike Casale in Friday's game. Casale leveled Rivermen center Justin Greenberg with a high hit. ... The Rivermen released rookie winger Mitch McPherson from his amateur tryout deal before the game. ... The Rivermen sat out captain Alec Hagaman and defenseman Ralfs Grinbergs for rest, and played without veteran winger Mike Gurtler (on IR). ... The SPHL suspended Fayetteville head coach Jesse Kallechy one game on Saturday for his ejection and verbal abuse of officials penalty in the final two minutes of a game Friday. ... The league left Fayetteville center David Mazurek on indefinite suspension, pending review, for his ejection for verbal abuse of referee Steven Sailor in the same incident.

Dave Eminian covers the Rivermen for the Journal Star and writes the Cleve In The Eve column for pjstar.com. Reach him at 686-3206 or deminian@pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @icetimecleve.