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Regular season comes to a close as RiverKings face Rivermen

Game 56: Mississippi RiverKings (33-20-2) vs. Peoria Rivermen (35-17-3)

7:05 p.m., Landers Center, Southaven, Mississippi

The Mississippi RiverKings conclude their 23rd regular season tonight as they host the Peoria Rivermen for the final game of the 2014-15 season. It's the 11th match of the season series between the teams, with both teams holding 5-5-0 records against each other.  

Despite losing last night, the Rivermen secured the regular season points championship because of a Columbus loss to Huntsville. That locked in the top seed in the playoffs for the Rivermen, who are in their second season in the SPHL. Their first round opponent is still up in the air, but it will either be Knoxville, who they were 10-2-0 against, or Louisiana, who they went 4-1-1 against.

The RiverKings 8-3 win last night over the Rivermen kept their hopes alive for the number two seed in the playoffs, as they moved within two points of Columbus. A RiverKings win tonight, coupled with a regulation loss by the Cottonmouths, would put the RiverKings in second place. The RiverKings are 33-20-2 and have 68 points, their most since joining the SPHL prior to the 2011-12 season.

It's Fan Appreciation night presented by Belhaven University and the first 3,000 fans in attendance will receive a free RiverKings rally towel courtesy of Super Drugs Pharmacy and Superior Health & Wellness. Be sure to listen throughout the night, as every fan in attendance has a chance to walk away with other prizes and giveaways, courtesy of the RiverKings and our partners. The live jersey auction of the Belhaven University warmup jerseys will take place immediately following the game in Section 104 and the silent auction for the regular season jerseys will conclude at the end of the second intermission. Fans can bid in the silent auction at the Fan Services table.

Broadcast Coverage

Hibu RiverKings Pregame at 6:55 p.m.

Radio: Live audio on riverkings.com

Streaming: Pay-to-watch video on SPHL Live 

Last time out

The RiverKings scored seven unanswered goals, four in the second and three in the third, to overcome a 3-1 deficit and defeat the Peoria Rivermen, 8-3, last night at the Landers Center. It was the most goals scored in a game this year for the RiverKings and most allowed in a game this year by the Rivermen.

Peoria jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first period, getting goals by Alec Hagaman, Ben Oskroba and Jake Trask. The RiverKings only goal in the first came from Dan Delisle, who made it 2-1 at the time when he scored on a 2-on-1 at 8:50. Things shifted in the second when Matt Beer opened the period with a goal just 23 seconds in to make it 3-2. The RiverKings would score three more times, all in just over five minutes, over halfway through the second. Andrew Randazzo tied the game with a slap shot from the right circle at 13:29, Devin Mantha gave the RiverKings their first lead by burying a rebound at 16:15 and Randazzo made it 5-3 with a power-play goal at 18:51.

In the third the RiverKings ran away with it, scoring three times on three breakaways. First it was Delisle at 4:38 who made it 6-3. Sean Jones and Matt Harrington also scored on breakaways to give the RiverKings an 8-3 win.  

Scouting the Rivermen

The Rivermen are 6-4-0 in their last 10 games after losing last night at the Landers Center. They are 35-17-3 and with 73 points they have secured the regular season points championship and locked in the top seed in the playoffs.

Josh Harris leads the Rivermen in scoring with 46 points (21g, 25a) and four game-winning goals in 55 games. He is one of two players with more than 20 goals for Peoria and he is one behind Jake Trask for the team lead in goals. Garrett Vermeersch (18g, 22a) is second on the team with 40 points and Alex Hudson (13g, 26a) is third with 39 points.

In net Kyle Rank is the clear number one for the Rivermen. Rank has appeared in 42 games, which is second most in the league this season, and he is 26-12-2 with a 2.38 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage. He is 4-3-0 against the RiverKings with a 2.11 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage. Since joining Peoria, backup Dustin Carlson has appeared in eight games and he is 5-2-0 with a 2.62 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage.

Special teams

The Rivermen have the league's third best power play, scoring on 18.9% (46-for-244) of their power plays. They went 0-for-2 last night against the RiverKings. The Rivermen are better on the road than at home, scoring on 22.0% (28-for-127) of their road power plays, which is tops in the league, while scoring on only 15.4% (18-for-117) of home power plays.

The RiverKings power play is just 2-for-29 over the last seven games, moving them to sixth in the SPHL at 14.6% (31-for-213). At the Landers Center the RiverKings are fifth at 16.5% (20-for-121), which is better than their road mark of 12.0% (11-for-92). 

Peoria's penalty kill is first in the SPHL at 86.7% (209-for-241), although they have allowed power-play goals in four of the last five games head-to-head against the RiverKings. Despite being shorthanded 241 times, which is most in the league, the Rivermen have allowed just 32 power-play goals, which is second fewest in the league, behind only the RiverKings' 27 power-play goals against. 

The RiverKings penalty kill is second in the SPHL, after going 23-for-25 (92.0%) over their last nine games. They have successfully killed 84.9% (152-for-179) of opponent's power plays this season. They are perfect on the kill in 15 of the last 20 game, going 49-for-54 (90.7%).

Posted by Lukas Favale at 1:00 PM

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RiverKings vs. Havoc
Tue, Dec. 12 - 10:30 AM

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Schedule

Standings

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

Updated: December 9, 2017