RiverKings open weekend series with loss to Ice Flyers

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. - The Mississippi RiverKings (27-18-10) scored an early third-period goal, but could not complete the comeback as the Pensacola Ice Flyers (31-20-4) took the first game of the weekend series 5-3 on Friday night in Southaven.

Pensacola got on the board first on Stephen Buco's 17th goal of the year from Joseph Holka and Steve Bergin just 7:49 into the first period.

The RiverKings tied the game just under three minutes later when Reid Campbell's shot from the blueline slipped through traffic, on the power play, to beat Ice Flyer netminder John McLean.

The Ice Flyers reclaimed their lead less than a minute later when Paul Rodrigues' shot found the back of the net to put Pensacola up 2-1 going into the first intermission.

In the second, the Ice Flyers added to their lead. Corey Banfield converted on a shorthanded breakaway opportunity to push the visitors' lead to 3-1.

One minute later, the RiverKings cut their deficit to one once again. Matt Harrington slipped a shot past McLean off a Max Cook setup to bring the RiverKings within one.

Pensacola regained their two goal lead once again at the 11:04 mark of the second on Buco's second of the game as the Ice Flyers took a 4-2 lead into the third.

Once again, the RiverKings battled back. Todd Hosmer's shot beat McLean 80 seconds into the third period to slice the deficit to 4-3. But with Peter Di Salvo on the bench for the extra attacker, Banfield notched his second of the game to give Pensacola the 5-3 victory.

Peter Di Salvo (13-7-5) took the loss after stopping 21 of 25 shots against. John McLean (19-10-3) stopped 29 of 32 shots against in the win.

The RiverKings scored once on three power play opportunities while not taking a penalty.

Devin Mantha takes a slash from Pensacola's Corey Banfield on Friday night in Southaven during the RiverKings' penultimate home game. © Mark Mathews

The RiverKings wrap up their 2015-16 regular season schedule tomorrow night at 7:05 in a rematch against the Pensacola Ice Flyers. The first 500 fans in the building will get t-shirts courtesy of Super Drugs Pharmacy. For ticket information, call 662-342-1755 or visit RiverKings.com.

Posted by David Schmoll at 9:31 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