RiverKings Show Thunder No Love in Valentine's Day Rout

By: David Schmoll


February 14, 2014

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- Matt Whitehead and Sean Jones tallied a pair of goals and the Mississippi RiverKings (23-14-3) converted on three of five power play opportunities in a 7-3 victory over the Bloomington Thunder (15-23-2) on Friday night.

The RiverKings jumped on the board early. After an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the Thunder bench put the RiverKings on the power play, Matt Whitehead lifted a shot over the blocker of B.J. O'Brien just 1:11 into the first to put the visitors on top 1-0. Sean Jones added a second first-period goal as he picked up his own rebound and put it past O'Brien at the 9:38 mark, giving the RiverKings a 2-0 lead.

But the second half of the period belonged to the Thunder. Bobby Watson took advantage of a RiverKings' miscue on the blueline in the Thunder zone and converted on his breakaway opportunity 11:27 into the period to cut the Thunder deficit to one. In the waning moments of the period, Travis Granbois had a pass deflect off of him and to the back of the net to tie the game at two heading into the first intermission.

The second period had the same back and forth scoring as the first. Burke Gallimore tallied his first goal as a RiverKing on the power play with a nifty move through the defense and buried a shot past O'Brien to put the RiverKings on top 3-2 5:04 into the second. Bloomington tied the game up at the 16:27 mark when Nic Polaski collected a rebound in front of Krahn and beat him blocker side to tie the game at three. But as the clock wound down in the second, Matt Whitehead found the back of the net for the second time in the game with a wrist shot along the ice to beat O'Brien and give the RiverKings a 4-3 lead with 46 second left in the second that they held onto into the second intermission.

It was all RiverKings in the third. Sean Jones deflected a shot past O'Brien just 53 seconds into the third period off a Mike Hayward shot to put the RiverKings up by two. On the power play, Leo Thomas picked up a loose puck on a misplay by O'Brien and slid the puck to the back of the net to put the RiverKings up 6-3. The RiverKings finished their scoring 18:06 into the third as Devin Mantha hammered home a Phil Bronner rebound past O'Brien to give the RiverKings a 7-3 victory.

Matt Krahn (12-6-3) stopped 34 of 37 shots against in the victory. B.J. O'Brien (5-10-1) took the loss after turning aside 26 of 33 shots against.

The RiverKings and Thunder are back at it tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. from the U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington, Ill. Be sure to catch all the action on Sports 56 and 87.7FM.

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 David Schmoll at 8:43 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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