Ice Bears edge RiverKings in Game 1

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Knoxville Ice Bears scored the only goal in the third period to break a 2-2 tie and defeat the Mississippi RiverKings, 3-2, in Game 1 of the President’s Cup Finals at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum Thursday night.

The Ice Bears capitalized on a slow RiverKings start, after Mississippi had over a week off because of its bye to the finals. Brett Valliquette finished a shot from the left circle to give the Ice Bears a 1-0 lead just 3:56 into the first period. The RiverKings titled the ice in their favor the rest of the period, but the game entered the first intermission with the Ice Bears up, 1-0.

The Ice Bears again scored early to start the second period. Knoxville went into the offensive zone on a 2-on-1 as the RiverKings made a sloppy change and Josh Cousineau fired a shot from the left circle. Peter Di Salvo made an initial stop, but the puck trickled behind him and Dennis Sicard was there to tap it in for a 2-0 lead at 7:35. Mississippi used two power plays to even the game a few minutes later. First Leo Thomas got the RiverKings on the board at 10:57 by snapping home a shot from the slot, with Matt Whitehead and Andrew Randazzo getting assists. Then about six minutes later on another power play Bryon Paulazzo cranked in a shot from the right circle to tie the game.

Knoxville capitalized on one of their first chances in the third to go ahead 3-2 less than five minutes in. Jason Price sent a shot from the left point through a screen that Di Salvo stopped, but the rebound bounced to Berkley Scott, who finished it off for a 3-2 lead. The RverKings pressed in the third, outshooting Knoxville 16-6, but Bryan Hince turned aside each to give the Ice Bears a Game 1 win.

Notes: All four RiverKings playoff games have been decided by one goal… Captain Leo Thomas scored in his second straight playoff game… Bryon Paulazzo scored his team-leading fourth goal in the playoffs and also hit two posts in the second period… The RiverKings scored their first two power-play goals of the playoffs.

The RiverKings are in the President's Cup Finals against the Knoxville Ice Bears and with Game 2 Saturday, April 18 in Knoxville at 6:35 CDT. Watch with fellow fans at the official RiverKings Watch Party at Old Style BBQ in Olive Branch. Season tickets for the 2015-16 season are on sale now, starting at just $225 per seat. For more information, contact the RiverKings front office at 662-324-1755.

About the Mississippi RiverKings

The Mississippi RiverKings are supported by their community partners, season ticket holders, fans, and by program-related investments of the Maddox Foundation, an independent private foundation based in Hernando, Miss. To find out more about the RiverKings, call 662.342.1755 or visit www.riverkings.com

Posted by Lukas Favale at 10:07 PM

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PEO y-Peoria 56 38 13 5 81
MAC x-Macon 56 33 16 7 73
PEN x-Pensacola 56 33 16 7 73
HUN x-Huntsville 56 30 16 10 70
KNX x-Knoxville 56 30 20 6 66
EVV x-Evansville 56 27 20 9 63
MRK x-RiverKings 56 29 25 2 60
RKE x-Roanoke 56 26 26 4 56
BIR Birmingham 56 22 28 6 50
FAY Fayetteville 56 12 38 6 30
Full Standings

Updated: April 8, 2018

x-Clinched Playoff Berth
y-Clinched Regular Season Title