RiverKings advance to President's Cup Finals

PENSACOLA, Fla. – The Mississippi RiverKings scored twice early in the second period and then Peter Di Salvo made 39 saves, including a penalty shot with 8.1 seconds left in regulation, to give the RiverKings a 2-1 win over the Pensacola Ice Flyers Saturday night. The RiverKings won the best-of-three series 2-1 and because of the results in other games tonight the RiverKings advance to the President's Cup Finals.

The Ice Flyers carried their momentum from their overtime win Friday night into the first period when Adam Pawlick scored a power-play goal 5:27 into the game. Brett Lutes stopped a RiverKings clear attempt and then sent a pass to Pawlick at the left circle, where he fired a shot past Di Salvo to give the Ice Flyers a 1-0 lead. 

Mississippi erased that deficit early in the second period. After a brief 4-on-4 the Ice Flyers went to the power play and the RiverKings used that to tie the game. Andrew Randazzo cleared the puck and Leo Thomas tracked it down to start an odd-man rush for the RiverKings. He skated to the left circle and snapped a shot past Max Strang for a shorthanded goal at 2:35 of the second. Then about two minutes later Devin Mantha gave the RiverKings the lead for good. Matt Harrington and Bryon Paulazzo cycled behind the net and Paulazzo put it in front where Mantha fired it into the net at 4:43, giving the RiverKings a 2-1 lead.

The Ice Flyers pressured in the third, putting 17 shots on goal, but Di Salvo turned them all aside. With two minutes to go in regulation the Ice Flyers went to the power play. Then with 8.1 seconds to go the Ice Flyers were awarded a penalty shot. Corey Banfield took it and went to the backhand, but Di Salvo gobbled it up with the glove to preserve the RiverKings win, 2-1.

Notes: The RiverKings advance past the first round for the first time since joining the SPHL and advance to the President's Cup Final for the first time since they won back-to-back championships in the CHL in 2001-02 and 2002-03... Bryon Paulazzo had an assist, giving him a point in all three games in the series... The Knoxville Ice Bears and Louisiana IceGators play in the second round with the winner facing the RiverKings in the President's Cup Finals.

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 10:14 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