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RiverKings celebrate "Festivus" as they host Havoc

Game 20: Mississippi RiverKings (6-11-2) vs. Huntsville Havoc (3-11-3)

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

The Mississippi RiverKings face the Huntsville Havoc tonight at the Landers Center as part of their "Festivus" celebration. It's the third of eight matches between the teams this season and both teams have won once at home. They next play Jan. 18 in Huntsville and don't square off in the Landers Center again until Feb. 17. 

The Havoc enter tonight with 11 straight losses, going 0-8-3 during the stretch. They lost a pair of one-goal games to Peoria last week and have two homes game with Pensacola on the docket right after Christmas.

The RiverKings went 1-1 last week, picking up a 5-3 win in Knoxville Thursday night before dropping to the IceGators, 4-2, Saturday. Speaking of Louisiana, the RiverKings will play a home-and-home series with the IceGators, starting Friday in Mississippi.

As part of the "Festivus" celebration fans will have an opportunity to participate in the "Feats of Strength" immediately following the game. 

Broadcast Coverage

Hibu RiverKings Pregame at 7:00 p.m.

Radio: Live audio on riverkings.com

Streaming: Pay-to-watch video on SPHL Live

 

Last time out

The Louisiana IceGators struck for three third-period goals to jump past the RiverKings, 4-2, Dec. 20 at the Cajundome. It evened the season series between the teams at two wins each, with seven more matchups still to play.

Mississippi raced out of the gates to grab a 1-0 lead just 19 seconds into the game. Right after the opening faceoff Leo Thomas was sprung on a breakaway down the right wing and he beat Marco De Filippo as he cut towards the front of the net. From there both De Filippo and Adam Courchaine made strong saves on both ends and the RiverKings entered the intermission up by a goal.

The IceGators pulled even at 7:28 of the second period. With the RiverKings on the power-play Chris Wilson forced a turnover and skated in for a breakaway for Louisiana. He was hooked by Andrew Randazzo and drew a penalty shot, which he converted to tie the game at one.

In the third Tyler Klein put the IceGators up 2-1 when he escaped down the left wing and squirted one through Courchaine. Adam Stuart made it a two-goal lead with a 4-on-4 goal at 12:12, but Devin Mantha immediately answered for the RiverKings just 22 seconds later, getting Mississippi back within one. Matt Viola finished things off with an empty-net goal as the IceGators held off the RiverKings for a 4-2 win.

Scouting the Havoc

With a 3-11-3 record the Havoc have 9 points and are in last place in the SPHL, five points behind the RiverKings. Huntsville has lost 11 straight games (0-8-3) since Nov. 15 after starting the season 3-3-0. They lost two one-goal games to Peoria last weekend. After facing the RiverKings Tuesday the Havoc have two home games with pensacola Friday and Saturday.

The Havoc have shaken up their roster over the last week, making three trades in an attempt to spark the lowest scoring offense in the SPHL at 2.24 goals per game. First they acquiring three players in a trade with the Pensacola Ice Flyers Dec. 17, picking up Drew Akins, Mitchell Good and Mark Anthonie in exchange for Nick Lazorko. Lazorko was the team's leading scorer with 15 points (7g, 8a), but that title now belongs to Akins with 12 points (3g, 9a). In two games with Huntsville, Akins has one goal. Good, who had 10 points (6g, 4a) with Pensacola did not report to Huntsville and was traded to Knoxville for defenseman Joe Tolles. Mike Gurtler, who was second on the team with 11 points (4g, 7a) was traded to Peoria for Gabriel Levesque.

In net Jesse Kallechy and Kevin Genoe have seen action for the Havoc. Kallechy has 10 appearances and a 1-7-1 record, along with a 3.05 goals-against average and .896 save percentage. Genoe has eight appearances and a 2-4-2 record along with a 3.01 goals-against average and .909 save percentage. As a team the Havoc are seventh in goals against per game, allowing 3.24 goals per game.

Special teams

Huntsville is sixth in the SPHL on the power play this season at 11.6% (8-for-69). They were 1-for-3 in Saturday's 2-1 loss to Peoria and in the two-game set with the Rivermen last week the Havoc went 1-for-9 (11.1%).

The RiverKings power play was 0-for-5 Saturday in Louisiana, snapping a streak of power-play goals in three straight games Dec. 12-18. They are 3-for-15 (20.0%) over the last four games and are now 7-for-75 (9.3%) on the season. That places the RiverKings seventh in the SPHL. Success on the power play has been a good indicator of the team's success on the ice. In seven games when scoring a power-play goal, the RiverKings are 4-1-2.

The Havoc have allowed power-play goals in three straight games, giving up three goals in 11 shorthanded opportunities (72.7%). Overall they are fifth in the league on the kill at 85.1% (57-for-67), however their numbers are polar opposites at home vs. on the road. At home they are tops in the league, killing 25-of-27 (92.6%) opponent's power plays, but on the road they are last, just 32-for-40 (80.0%).

Mississippi killed off both Louisiana power plays Saturday after allowing two power-plays in the two previous games. Overall this season they are 58-for-69 on the penalty kill, which places them sixth in the league at 84.1%. They are 6-for-6 in the two games against Huntsville this season.

Festivus

The RiverKings are celebrating "Festivus" tonight at the Landers Center. Fans, players and staff had the opportunity to air their grievances, in the tradition "Festivus" manner.

Also in line with "Festivus" will be the "Feats of Strength" which will take place immediately following the game. Fans will have a chance to face Director of Business Operations David Schmoll in sumo suits.

Fans can sign up at the fan services table behind behind Section 105. The order of opponents will be determined by a pledge to the RiverKings ReachOut Fund, which supports local charities. The higher the pledge the higher up in line a fan will be. The "Feats of Strength" will continue until Schmoll loses. More information is available at the fan services table. 

Posted by Lukas Favale at 11:55 AM

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Next Game

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