RiverKings go for two in a row vs. IceGators

Game 19: Mississippi RiverKings (6-10-2) vs. Louisiana IceGators (10-6-2)

7:05 p.m., Cajundome, Lafayette, Louisiana

For the sixth time this season the Mississippi RiverKings will try for their first two-game winning streak when they face the Louisiana IceGators at the Cajundome. The RiverKings have lost the game after a win every time this season. This is the fourth match of 11 between the teams. The RiverKings have wins in two of the first three, including the only one in Lafayette.

The IceGators enter tonight having played four consecutive games past regulation. The won the first two, both shootouts against Pensacola before losing the last two, one shootout and one overtime, against Columbus. This is the only game of the week for Louisiana.

The RiverKings come into Louisiana following a 5-3 win in Knoxville Thursday, becoming the only team besides Peoria to defeat the Ice Bears so far this season. This wraps up the week for the RiverKings, who play three times next week, including two against Louisiana.

The RiverKings are once again without goalie Peter Di Salvo, who is home in Canada for a personal family matter. Emergency backup Dominic Bianchi remains with the RiverKings until Di Salvo returns.

Broadcast Coverage

Hibu RiverKings Pregame at 7:00 p.m.

Radio: Audio on Sports 56 (560 AM)

Streaming: Pay-to-watch video on SPHL Live

Last time out

The RiverKings exploded with four goals in the third period, including three unanswered in the first five minutes, to rally past the Knoxville Ice Bears, 5-3, at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum Thursday. 

The RiverKings got the game's first goal late in the first period. Matt Whitehead stole a pass near the icing line in the offensive zone and moved the puck to Matt Harrington in the slot. He backhanded one past Bryan Hince with 2:42 left in the period for a 1-0 lead. The Ice Bears responded in the second with two goals to carry a 2-1 lead into the third period.

It didn't take long for the RiverKings to wrestle control back in their favor. A penalty just 12 seconds in set up a RiverKings power play and it converted 53 seconds into the third when Devin Mantha tipped an Andrew Randazzo shot to tie the game at two. A few minutes later Whitehead finished off a pass from Leo Thomas for a 3-2 Mississippi lead and Harrington added another just 37 seconds later to make it 4-2. The Ice Bears scored a power-play goal to pull back within one, but Dan Delisle polished it off with an empty-net goal with 2.1 seconds to give Adam Courchaine his first win of the season, a 5-3 triumph. 

Scouting the IceGators

The IceGators have played four straight overtime games, winning the first two and losing the last two. Three of those were decided in a shootout and now the IceGators are 10-6-2 and are in fourth place in the SPHL with 22 points. This is the only game of the week for Louisiana.

Adam Stuart is riding a six-game scoring streak, which includes five multi-point performances and has him tops on the team with 21 points (8g, 13a). During his six-game point streak, Stuart has 13 points (5g, 8a) which alone would place him third on the team. Benjamin Rubin is second with 14 points (3g, 11a) while Jeremy Boyer (5g, 7a) and Chris Wilson (5g, 7a) are tied with 12 points each.

Rookies Marco De Filippo and Andrew Flemming have seen significant time in net for the IceGators. De Filippo is 7-3-1 in 11 appearances, posting a 2.72 goals-against average and .908 save percentage. In his one start against the RiverKings he was replaced after allowing three goals on six shots Nov. 21. Flemming has started the last two games against the RiverKings, going 1-1 and in eight games this season he is 3-3-1 with a 2.76 goals-against average and .915 save percentage.

Special teams

Louisiana is third in the SPHL on the power play at 18.2% (12-for-66). Although they have the third-best percentage in the league, the IceGators are tied with Huntsville for the fewest power-play chances with 66 and Huntsville has played two fewer games. They are 1-for-8 (12.5%) in three games against Mississippi.

The RiverKings power play has goals in three straight games for the first time this season. They are 3-for-10 (30.0%) during that stretch and are now 7-for-70 (10.0%) on the season. That places the RiverKings seventh in the SPHL.

The IceGators penalty kill is fifth in the SPHL at 84.7% (72-for-85) this season. Despite two losses against the RiverKings this year, they are perfect on the penalty kill against Mississippi, killing off all nine RiverKings power plays in three games. The IceGators have been shorthanded 85 times this year, second most in the league behind Peoria's 93 times.

Mississippi's penalty kill gave up multiple power-play goals in a game for just the second straight game and just the third time this season when they allowed two in six shorthanded situations Thursday vs. Knoxville. Over the last two games they are just 6-for-10 (60.0%) and have dropped to sixth in the SPHL at 83.6% (56-for-67).

Posted by Lukas Favale at 2:00 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