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RiverKings Weekly Report - Feb. 23, 2015 - Vol. 23 Ed. 19

WEEKLY SCHEDULE

Event  Day  Date  Time  Location  Broadcast Info 
Game 42 vs. Pensacola  Tue.  Feb. 24  7:05 p.m.  Landers Center SPHL Live 
Game 43 at Louisiana  Thurs.  Feb. 26  7:05 p.m.  Cajundome  Sports 56/87.7 FM
Game 44 at Columbus Fri.  Feb. 27  6:30 p.m.  Columbus Civic Center Sports 56/87.7 FM  
Game 45 at Knoxville Sat. Feb. 28 6:35 p.m. Knoxville Civic Coliseum Sports 56/87.7 FM 

NEED TO KNOW

  • The RiverKings play four games in five nights against four different teams in Week 19, including a three-in-three in three different cities and two different time zones.
  • All four games this week are against teams currently in the playoffs, if the regular season ended today, and each match is the final one of the respective season series. The RiverKings have won the season series with Louisiana, and have a chance to win it against Columbus and even the one with Pensacola. 
  • The RiverKings have introduced a "March to the President's Cup" mini plan for March. Plans are for two, three or four RiverKings home games and will save money on walkup prices. Visit riverkings.com/miniplans for more information.
  • Peter Di Salvo registered his first career shutout by making 26 saves in Saturday's win over Huntsville.

WEEK IN REVIEW

Approaching milestones

While two players–Corey Leivermann and Dmitry Peremikin–made their RiverKings debuts last week and scored their first professional points several other RiverKings players are approaching other career milestones this week. Forward Matt Whitehead, who's been with the RiverKings since the 2011-12 season, will play his 300th professional game Tuesday night. Whitehead has 289 points (116g, 173a) in his pro career, which started in 2009-10 with the Pensacola Ice Flyers. 180 of his pro games have come with the RiverKings since joining the team in the 2011-12 season and he has 181 points (75g, 106a) with Mississippi.

There are also several players approaching the 100 game milestone. Mike Grace enters the week four games short of 100 games as a pro. He has 96 games played, all since the start of last season, and he has 39 points (3g, 36a). Mike Hayward, who joined the RiverKings at the tail end of the 2012-13 season, has played 97 games as a pro, all with Mississippi. In those games he has 37 points (9g, 28a). Devin Mantha also has 97 games played, all with the RiverKings. He has not missed a game since joining the RiverKings before last season and during his career he has 72 points (29g, 43a). Finally goalie Adam Courchaine is three appearances shy of 100 for his professional career. In his first 97 appearances as a pro he has 50 wins, including wins with Providence (AHL), Alaska (ECHL), Greenville (ECHL) and the RiverKings.

Game 40: RiverKings keep rolling with win over IceGators

The RiverKings added their seventh straight win with a 4-2 victory over the Louisiana IceGators last night at the Cajundome.

The IceGators took the early lead less than four minutes into the first period when Jeremy Boyer cashed in on a rebound in front. The RiverKings overcame that deficit in the second period, scoring three times to take the lead. Dmitry Peremikin started the run with a slap shot from near the right blue line for his first goal in North America, coming in his RiverKings debut. Linden Bahm added two goals later in the period, one on the power play at 10:23 and another at even strength at 16:27.

Adam Stuart brought the IceGators back within one late in the third, but Devin Mantha sealed the win with an empty-net goal with 23 seconds left. Adam Courchaine made 13 saves in the third and 28 in the game to get his fourth straight win on his 26th birthday.

Game 41: Di Salvo gets first career shutout in 3-0 win over Havoc

Peter Di Salvo stopped all 26 shots he faced to pace the RiverKings to their eighth straight win, 3-0, Saturday afternoon against the Huntsville Havoc. It was Di Salvo's first carrer shutout and the first one for the RiverKings this season.

Paul Ciarelli provided the only goal Di Salvo would need less than five minutes into the first. Off an offensive zone faceoff win Ryan Marcuz gathered the puck along the wall near the right circle. He passed to Corey Leivermann who quickly sent it to the slot for Ciarelli, who stashed it past Kevin Genoe at 4:40 of the first for a 1-0 lead. That would stand as the game-winning goal, but the RiverKings finally added insurance in the third period, after a scoreless second. 

Sean Jones made it a two-goal game with a power-play goal at 9:57 of the third period, finishing a rebound in front of the net on a shot from Daniel Sobotka. Andrew Randazzo would net the final goal with an empty-net tally with 16 seconds to play, making it 3-0. Di Salvo faced just four shots in the third period to earn the shutout.

THE WEEK AHEAD

RiverKings vs. Ice Flyers - Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - 7:05 p.m. - Landers Center

The RiverKings begin a stretch of four games in five nights with a game against the Pensacola Ice Flyers at the Landers Center Tuesday. It's the final game between the teams in their 10-game season series. The Ice Flyers have won five of the first nine, but the RiverKings have won the last three, including both games of a home-and-home series Feb. 6-7.

After an eight-game losing streak, which included three losses to the RiverKings, the Ice Flyers have points in seven games in a row (6-0-1). Their only loss during the last seven games came in a shootout against Fayetteville Feb. 20. They did win two out of three in a three-in-three with the FireAntz over the weekend. The Ice Flyers embark on a six-game road trip starting Tuesday. They play in Louisiana Friday night and in Huntsville Saturday afternoon to finish the week.

Corey Banfield continues to pace the SPHL in scoring with 54 points (19g, 35a) in just 41 games. He has points in five of his last six games, including three multi-point efforts, giving him eight points (4g, 4a) during that stretch. He has a three point lead over Adam Pawlick, who is second in the league with 51 points (24g, 27a). He has 10 points (2g, 8a) during a seven-game scoring streak. Nick Larson is the hottest player of the bunch entering the week, riding an eight-game scoring streak, the longest active streak in the SPHL. He has 11 points (6g, 5a) during the streak and he has 13 points in 10 games since joining the Ice Flyers Jan. 31. The only game without a point for him was Jan. 6 against the RiverKings.

In net Max Strang has played 35 games, which leads the SPHL, and he is 21-9-5 on the season. He has a 2.23 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. He has started the last seven games for Pensacola, going 6-0-1 and allowing just 13 goals.

RiverKings vs. IceGators - Thursday, February 26, 2015 - 7:05 p.m. - Cajundome

The RiverKings conclude their 11-game season series with the Louisiana IceGators with Thursday's trip to the Cajundome in Lafayette, the seventh trip there this season. The RiverKings have won seven of the 10 head-to-head matches, including four of the six in Louisiana.

The IceGators have lost six straight games, their longest losing streak of the season, and only have a point in the last one after they lost in a shootout to Columbus Feb. 21. On the season the IceGators are 20-16-7 and have dropped to sixth place with 47 points. They are just four points ahead of Fayetteville for the final playoff spot and the FireAntz have a game in hand on the IceGators. Louisiana trails the RiverKings by three points for fifth place. 

Adam Stuart leads the IceGators in scoring with 44 points (16g,28a) in 40 games. He is tied for the team lead with four game-winning and also leads the team with 11 power-play points. Chris Wilson is second on the team with 37 points (15g, 22a), including eight power-play points. Jake Hauswirth (16g, 17a) has surged to third on the team with 33 points in just 24 games. Hauswirth had a 12-game scoring streak, during which he scored 18 points, snapped Feb. 6. It tied Knoxville's Eric Satim for the longest streak in the league this season. Since then he has started a five-game scoring streak and he has points in 21 of the 24 games he's played. The RiverKings are the only team to hold him in check as three of those scoreless games have come against Mississippi.

The IceGators have used both goaltenders recently, although Marco De Filippo played in all three games for Louisiana last week. On the season De Filippo has appeared in 30 games and is 14-8-5 with a 3.17 goal-against average and a .899 save percentage. Matt Zenzola, who was acquired in a trade with Pensacola Jan. 8, has appeared in eight games with the IceGators and is 3-2-1 with a 2.79 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage. 

RiverKings vs. Cottonmouths - Friday, February 27, 2015 - 6:30 p.m. - Columbus Civic Center

The RiverKings play the middle game of a three-in-three in three different cities with their second and final trip to Columbus this season. It's also the final of five matches between the teams and both teams have two wins. The RiverKings won the most recent meeting, 5-1, Jan. 27 at the Landers Center during the RiverKings Face Off Field Trip.

Columbus is 25-15-2 on the season. The Cottonmouths beat the IceGators in a shootout Feb. 21 after tying the game late in regulation to extend their winning streak to four in a row. Columbus has 52 points and is tied for third place in the SPHL with Pensacola. Both teams are two points ahead of the RiverKings, who have a game in hand on both. The Cottonmouths are two games into a season-high seven game homestand and they'll gave Louisiana Saturday at the Columbus Civic Center.

Matt Gingera is the team leader with 44 points (28g, 16a) in 40 games. He is also the SPHL leader in goals and he is tied for third in the league with 44 points. His 12 power-play goals paces the league and he is tied with two other players for the league lead with six game-winning goals. Rookie Bryce Williamson is the team's second leading scorer with 40 points (16g, 24a) in 38 games. He is the leading rookie scorer in the league and he leads first-year players in goals and assists. Neilsson Arcibal rounds out the top three for Columbus with 32 points (10g, 22a) in 42 games. 

In net both Andrew Loewen and Shannon Szabados have seen significant playing time. Loewen has 24 games played and is 15-7-1 with a 2.11 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage. He missed several games with an injury, returning to win against the IceGators Feb. 21. In 19 games Szabados is 10-8-1 with a 3.16 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage. She went 3-2-0 while Loewen was injured, but won her last three starts.

RiverKings vs. Ice Bears - Saturday, February 28, 2015 - 7:05 p.m. - Knoxville Civic Coliseum

The RiverKings end the three-in-three with their final match against the Knoxville Ice Bears Saturday night at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum. It's the sixth and final meeting of the season series, with the Ice Bears holding a 4-1-0 record against the RiverKings. Knoxville won the first four matches, three of which came in October/November, before the RiverKings won Dec. 18 in Knoxville.

The Ice Bears have lost three straight games and their lead for second place in the standings has been trimmed to just one point. At 25-16-3 they have 53 points, which is one better than the Cottonmouths and Ice Flyers for third and three better than the RiverKings in fifth. All three teams have at least two games in hand on Knoxville and the RiverKings enter the week with three. Saturday will be the final game of a three-in-three for the Ice Bears, who have a home-and-home with the Havoc starting Thursday.

The Ice Bears have three scorers over the 40-point plateau, although as a team they are fifth in the league with just 2.91 goals per game. Ryan Salvis is tops on the team with 44 points (11g, 33a), which puts him tied for third in the SPHL. Francis Drolet (18g, 23a) and Eric Satim (17g, 24a) are tied for second with 41 points each. Drolet, who had a brief spell in the ECHL, has just 37 games played as opposed to 44 for Satim. 

In net, with Braely Torris on loan to ECHL-Greenville since Feb. 10, Bryan Hince has seen most of the action recently. In 26 games he is 12-10-2 with a 2.92 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage. Curtis Martinu joined the team Feb. 12 and has appeared in two games for the Ice Bears, losing once. 

Posted by Lukas Favale at 4:30 PM

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Next Game

Fri, Dec. 15 @ Birmingham - 7:35 PM

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Sat, Dec. 23 - 7:00 PM

Holiday Luau • Kids' Club Event

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Schedule

Standings

TEAM GP W L OT PTS
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
 
Full Standings

Updated: December 12, 2017