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Home-and-home concludes in Louisiana

Game 22: Mississippi RiverKings (8-11-2) vs. Louisiana IceGators (11-7-3)

7:05 p.m., Cajundome, Lafayette, Louisiana

The Mississippi RiverKings face the Louisiana IceGators tonight at the Cajundome in Louisiana in the final game of a home-and-home series. The RiverKings won a back-and-forth game, 4-3, in a shootout last night at the Landers Center in the front end of the series. Including tonight the teams play each other in four of the next five games. Tonight is the sixth of 11 games between the team this season. 

The IceGators enter the match with back-to-back losses after losing, 7-3, to the Pensacola Ice Flyers Tuesday and then falling in a shootout to the RiverKings last night. Between now and Jan. 7 the only break from the RiverKings for the IceGators is a match with Columbus Jan. 2.

The RiverKings have wins in consecutive games for the first time this season and have won three of their last four since Dec. 18. They beat the Huntsville Havoc, 2-1, in a shootout Tuesday and the IceGators, 4-3, in a shootout yesterday. After this home-and-home series with IceGators the RiverKings go on the road Jan. 2 in Pensacola then play three-in-a-row against Louisiana.

Broadcast Coverage

Hibu RiverKings Pregame at 7:00 p.m.

Radio: Live audio Sports 56/87.7FM

Streaming: Pay-to-watch video on SPHL Live

Matt Harrington to ECHL

RiverKings forward Matt Harrington was loaned to the ECHL's Wheeling Nailers today. Harrington was second on the team in scoring with 17 points (10g, 7a) including three points last night. He has scored the last three game-winning goals for the RiverKings, including shootout game-winners in each of the last two games.

Harrington becomes the first call up of the season for the RiverKings and the third-year RiverKing is up to the ECHL for the first time in his career.

Last time out

The RiverKings won a back-and-forth match, 4-3, in a shootout against the Louisiana IceGators last night. Louisiana erased two one-goal deficits and the RiverKings did the same once in the third before coming out with their second straight win.

Mississippi took a 1-0 lead 2:22 into the game. Paul Ciarelli had the puck in the right corner and got it to Sean Jones, who skated to the left circle before getting a shot on goal. Marco De Filippo made a save, but Linden Bahm crashed the net and converted on the rebound for his first professional goal. A few minutes later Jason Cohen got the puck on a faceoff win and wristed a shot past Peter Di Salvo to even the game at one.

In the second period Leo Thomas put the RiverKings back on top by spinning a shot home from the right circle, with Matt Harrington and Matt Whitehead getting assists. Later in the period the IceGators struck on the power play to again pull even, as Shawn Skelly fired home a shot from the left circle on a 5-on-3 power play. Louisiana took its first lead in the third period with another power-play goal. Chris Wilson skated down the left wing and fed a pass across for Benjamin Rubin, who was alone in front and beat Di Salvo for a 3-2 lead. Halfway through the third Harrington tied the game at three when he scored a power-play goal from the left circle.

The game would go through the rest of the third and overtime before the RiverKings won in a shootout. Harrington scored the only goal of the tie-breaker for the second straight game as they won 1-0 in the shootout with Di Salvo making five saves.

Scouting the IceGators

The IceGators have lost two straight games this week, first at home against Pensacola, 7-3, Tuesday night then in a shootout last night against the RiverKings. On the season they are 11-7-3, good for 25 points and fourth place in the SPHL. They are 7-3-1 at home this season and in their last 10 games overall are 5-2-3.

Adam Stuart had a seven-game scoring streak snapped Tuesday, but he got back on the scoresheet with an assist last night he is tops on the team with 23 points (9g, 14a). During his seven-game point streak, Stuart had 14 points (6g, 8a) including the game-winning goal against the RiverKings Dec. 20. Two players, Benjamin Rubin (5g, 11a) and Chris Wilson (6g, 10a) are tied with 16 points. Wilson had a goal and assist against the RiverKings Saturday, including a goal on a penalty shot. He had an assist on Rubin's power-play goal last night.

Rookies Marco De Filippo and Andrew Flemming have seen significant time in net for the IceGators. De Filippo is 8-3-2 in 14 appearances, posting a 2.78 goals-against average and .907 save percentage. He's made three starts against the RiverKings and is 1-1-1. Flemming has started two games against the RiverKings, going 1-1 and in nine games this season he is 3-4-1 with a 3.10 goals-against average and .905 save percentage.

Head-to-head

Tonight's game is the sixth of 11 matches between the RiverKings and IceGators. The RiverKings have three wins and the IceGators have two and the teams have alternated wins through the first five matches.  

Leo Thomas leads all scorers with seven points (3g, 4a) in the season series. In fact, over half of his 12 points this season have come against the Gators. Matt Whitehead (3g, 3a) and Matt Harrington (4g, 2a) are next with six points in the season series. Peter Di Salvo and Adam Courchaine have both made multiple starts in goal against Louisiana. Di Salvo has all three wins, allowing six goals in three games while Courchaine has lost twice, giving up just four goals.

For Louisiana Jason Cohen is the top scorer in the series, collecting four points (2g, 2a) in five games, including a goal and assist last night. Their two goalies have both appeared in three games, with Andrew Flemming entering in in relief for Marco De Filippo Nov. 21. Flemming is 1-1 with a 2.13 goals-against average and shutout Nov. 25. De Filippo is 1-1-1 with a 3.57 goals-against average and an .897 save percentage.

Special teams

Louisiana is third in the SPHL on the power play at 19.5% (15-for-77). They were 2-for-4 with the man advantage last night, bumping their success against the RiverKings to 3-for-14 (21.4%).

The RiverKings power play was 1-for-5 last night, scoring the game-tying goal in the third period on the power play. They are now 8-for-88 (9.1%) on the season, which is seventh in the SPHL. In eight games when scoring a power-play goal, the RiverKings are 5-1-2.

The IceGators are fifth in the SPHL on the penalty kill after killing four of the five RiverKings power plays. They have been successful on the penalty kill in 84.5% of shorthanded situations (87-for-103). Only Peoria has been shorthanded more times (104) than Louisiana's 103.

Mississippi is down to seventh in the league on the penalty kill after giving up two goals to Louisiana yesterday. They've allowed six power-play goals in the last five games. Overall they are 63-for-76 (82.9%) on the kill.

Posted by Lukas Favale at 1:34 PM

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Next Game

Fri, Dec. 15 @ Birmingham - 7:35 PM

ListenWatch

RiverKings vs. Ice Flyers
Sat, Dec. 23 - 7:00 PM

Holiday Luau • Kids' Club Event

TicketsListenWatch

Planters Bank Ice @ Landers Center

Schedule

Standings

TEAM GP W L OT PTS
PEN Pensacola 16 12 4 0 24
PEO Peoria 16 11 4 1 23
HUN Huntsville 15 9 4 2 20
MRK RiverKings 16 10 6 0 20
EVV Evansville 16 9 5 2 20
MAC Macon 16 7 5 4 18
KNX Knoxville 15 7 7 1 15
FAY Fayetteville 18 5 9 4 14
RKE Roanoke 15 5 8 2 12
BIR Birmingham 13 3 9 1 7
 
Full Standings

Updated: December 12, 2017