PEORIA — Now comes the celebration.

The Peoria Rivermen earned the SPHL league points championship trophy with a shootout loss to last-place Evansville on Friday night.

But they earned the right to touch that William B. Coffey Trophy with a 5-1 win over Evansville in a rematch Saturday before 3,179 at Carver Arena.

Rivermen winger Beau Walker notched a hat trick for the second straight night — the first player in Peoria's SPHL era to record hat tricks in consecutive games. Rookie goaltender Steve Klein notched his 21st win and took a shutout to the final two minutes.

And the Rivermen, now at 38-7-9, set the SPHL single-season record for most points with 85.

"We were better — not completely ourselves, but better," said Rivermen coach Jean-Guy Trudel, who after Friday's game kept the trophy locked up in his office after a poor outing. "Now they deserve to have it."

And with that, Trudel placed it on the floor in the middle of the locker room, just above the team logo. Trudel went around the room, thanked each player, and then they all gathered around the trophy and hoisted a beer.

"First goal is always to make the playoffs," Trudel said.

"We did that.

"Second goal is to finish top four.

"We did that.

"Win the War on 74.

"Did that.

"Win the whole league again this year.

"Did that.

"And now the reason why ... 1, 2, 3 ...

"FAMILY."

Walker poured in five goals in five periods against Evansville after tacking on two in the second period.

Alec Hagaman broke a scoreless tie at 16:47 of the first period when his shot from the right circle went across the goalmouth and into the top left corner past goaltender Alex Muray's stick.

Walker skated in two-on-one with Ben Blasko and finished from the right circle 38 seconds into the second period for 2-0.

The teammates hooked up for another two-on-one at 16:19, and again Walker finished, while on the fly from the left circle.

Austin Vieth added a third-period goal, and Walker finished his hat trick at 10:04 of the third period.

"We couldn't celebrate (Friday)," said Rivermen enforcer Dennis Sicard, who tried to jump-start Peoria in the rematch Saturday when he fought Evansville heavyweight Nick Wright off the opening faceoff. "You don't want to celebrate after a game like we had yesterday. Tonight, that felt better.

"I knew going out there tonight what was going to happen, I was just surprised it was right at the start like that. But whatever it takes. That's what every guy on this team does."

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RIVER READINGS: Evansville 6-foot-4, 215-pound enforcer Nick Wright fought Rivermen enforcer Dennis Sicard off the opening faceoff. There is video of that terrific bout — which left Wright with a cut over his left eye — online with this story at pjstar.com. ... There is also video of Rivermen coach Jean-Guy Trudel's post-game chat with the team and its celebration of the William B. Coffey Trophy online with this story. ... Rivermen defenseman Jake Hamilton returned to the lineup after finishing a two-game SPHL suspension. ... The Rivermen scratched big winger Pijus Rulevicius for rest. ... Rivermen winger Beau Walker finished the two-game weekend with six goals. ... Former Rivermen captain Dave Pszenyczny, now head coach at expansion Quad City, was ejected from Saturday's game at Huntsville.

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