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RiverKings battle Ice Bears

Game 18: Mississippi RiverKings (5-10-2) vs. Knoxville Ice Bears (11-5-1)

6:35 p.m. CST, Knoxville Civic Colesium, Knoxville, Tennessee

The Mississippi RiverKings open up Week 9 with the first of two road games. They take on the Knoxville Ice Bears for the fifth of six times this season, still searching for their first head-to-head win. The Ice Bears have won the first four, including one in overtime, with three wins at the Landers Center. The final match comes in Knoxville Feb. 28.

The Ice Bears lost two games in Peoria last week, both with identical 3-2 scores, although one came in overtime. They begin a three-in-three today, going on to play a pair of games against the Columbus Cottonmouths, starting in Columbus Friday.

The RiverKings split two games at home against Pensacola last weekend and play both games on the road this week. After tonight's game in Knoxville the RiverKings head to Louisiana for a Saturday match with the IceGators.

Broadcast Coverage

Hibu RiverKings Pregame at 6:30 p.m.

Radio: Audio on 87.7 FM

Streaming: Pay-to-watch video on SPHL Live

Last time out

The Pensacola Ice Flyers scored a pair of power-play goals in the first and added two even strength goals in the second to defeat the RiverKings, 4-1, Saturday at the Landers Center.

Pensacola took advantage of two first period power plays to jump ahead of the RiverKings, 2-0. At 9:01 of the first period Mitchell Good deflected a shot from the slot past goalie Adam Courchaine for a 1-0 Pensacola lead. Later in the first Corey Banfield snapped a shot from the right circle that squirted through traffic and Courchaine to make it 2-0 at 16:26.

The Ice Flyers scored twice more in the second to go up 4-0. Adam Pawlick scored both goals, the first by finishing off a pass from Cody Ferriero and the second when he took a wrist shot from the high slot. The RiverKings got their only goal in the third period when Mike Hayward sent a slap shot past Max Strang for a power-play goal.


Scouting the Ice Bears

With an 11-5-1 record the Ice Bears have 23 points and are in third place in the SPHL, having been passed by Pensacola and Peoria. Knoxville does have a game in hand on both of those teams. Thursday starts a three-in-three for the Ice Bears, who play a home-and-home series with the Cottonmouths, starting in Columbus Friday.

Ryan Salvis leads the Ice Bears with 23 points (6g, 17a) in 17 games. He is in fourth in the SPHL in scoring, just two points ahead of teammate Eric Satim, who has 21 points (8g, 13a). Francis Drolet, who rounds out the line with Salvis and Satim, was returned by ECHL-Orlando Dec. 8 and he is third on the team with 19 points (9g, 10a) in 15 games. He played two games with the Solar Bears, but didn't register a point.

In net Braely Torris and Bryan Hince have split time. Torris has appeared in nine games this season and has a 6-1-1 record, a 2.47 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage. Three of his starts have come against the RiverKings and he has allowed just four goals in three Ice Bears wins. Hince is 5-4-0 in 10 appearances with a 3.43 goals against average and a .891 save percentage.

Special teams

Despite their record the Ice Bears special teams are in the bottom half of the league. Their power play is fifth at 12.2% (9-for-74) after going 2-for-13 last week against Peoria.

The RiverKings power play has goals in back-to-back games for just the second time this season. They went 2-for-7 last week against the Ice Flyers, who have the league's top ranked penalty kill. The RiverKings are still ranked seventh in the SPHL at 9.0% (6-for-67). Much of their struggles have been on the road, where they are 1-for-23 (4.3%). 

The Ice Bears penalty kill is last in the league allowing 13 power-play goals in 66 shorthanded situations (80.3%). They were 4-for-5 on the kill last week in Peoria.

Mississippi's penalty kill gave up multiple power-play goals in a game for just the second time this season when they allowed two in four shorthanded situations Dec. 13 vs. Pensacola. The RiverKings are now fourth in the SPHL on the penalty kill at 85.2%, successfully killing 52-of-61 opponent's power plays.

Posted by Lukas Favale at 4:00 PM

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Next Game

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

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Planters Bank Ice @ Landers Center

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