RiverKings comeback falls short in Columbus

COLUMBUS, Ga. – The Columbus Cottonmouths (26-15-2) raced out to a 3-0 lead and clung to a 5-4 win over the Mississippi RiverKings (25-17-2) Friday night at the Columbus Civic Center.

The Cottonmouths struck first to at 7:19 of the first period. Mike Switzer stopped a clearing attempt by the RiverKings and he sent a pass across to Shawn Bates, who fired in one-timer from the right circle for a power-play goal. Just 20 seconds later Craig Simchuk stripped the puck at the red line and split the defense for a breakaway, which he scored on for a 2-0 lead.

A few minutes after that Matt Whitehead was given a penalty shot. He scored, but after the referee and linesmen discusses they ruled no goal, saying that he touched the puck twice. Moments later the Cottonmouths went up 3-0 when Will Aide finished a pass from Simchuk.

The RiverKings cracked the scoreboard in the second period when Whitehead snapped a shot in from the left circle at 3:23. Columbus quickly went back up by three when Louis Belisle created a two-on-one and tapped in the rebound for a 4-1 lead. Three minutes after that Ryan Marcuz deflected in a Mike Hayward shot to cut the deficit back to two, but that only last for four minutes, until Ben O’Quinn scored for a 5-2 Columbus lead.

The RiverKings had their chances in the third to erase the three-goal deficit. Reid Campbell again got the RiverKings within two with his second goal of the season, a snap shot from the left circle at 6:21. Marcuz scored his second of the game at 7:56 when he buried a puck in the crease to make it 5-4. Just moments after that Shannon Szabados robbed Andrew Randazzo right in the crease to hold the lead and in the end the Cottonmouths would survive with a 5-4 win.

The RiverKings are back home Tuesday, Mar. 3 against the Huntsville Havoc for the Bieber Birthday Bash. Fans with a March birthday, like Justin Bieber, will get a free red-level ticket at the Box Office. Because of Bieber's modeling career the team is holding a new underwear and sock drive to benefit the Memphis Union Mission. Fans who bring a new, sealed pack of underwear or socks will save $3 on their tickets at the Box Office. Single-game tickets can be purchased at riverkings.com/ticketmaster and groups of 15 or more get a discount, with group tickets starting at $8 per ticket, by calling the front office at 662-342-1755.

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 9:52 PM


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PEN Pensacola 16 12 4 0 24
PEO Peoria 16 11 4 1 23
HUN Huntsville 15 9 4 2 20
MRK RiverKings 16 10 6 0 20
EVV Evansville 16 9 5 2 20
MAC Macon 16 7 5 4 18
KNX Knoxville 15 7 7 1 15
FAY Fayetteville 18 5 9 4 14
RKE Roanoke 15 5 8 2 12
BIR Birmingham 13 3 9 1 7
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Updated: December 12, 2017