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RiverKings Weekly Report - Nov. 2, 2015 - Vol. 24 Ed. 2

WEEKLY SCHEDULE

Event  Day  Date  Time  Location  Broadcast Info 
Game 4 vs. Peoria Tue. Nov. 3 7:05 p.m. Landers Center SPHL Live/Stretch Internet
Game 5 vs. Macon  Fri. Nov. 6 7:05 p.m. Landers Center SPHL Live/Stretch Internet 
Game 6 vs. Columbus Sat. Nov. 7 7:05 p.m. Landers Center SPHL Live/Stretch Internet

TRANSACTIONS

10/30/15  Ian Young (D)  ADD Signed contract 
10/29/15 Alberts Ilisko (D)  DEL Waived


NEED TO KNOW

  • The RiverKings have won back-to-back games, scoring 10 goals in those wins, after being shut out in the season opener on Oct. 23.
  • Current Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Derek Landmesser will have his #55 jersey retired by the organization on Friday, Nov. 6 when the RiverKings face Macon. 
  • The RiverKings will hold their annual Military Night on Saturday, Nov. 7 against Columbus. The RiverKings will wear special jerseys during the game and they will be auctioned postgame, with the proceeds benefiting the RiverKings ReachOut Fund.

WEEK IN REVIEW

Production from the blue line

After being shut out in the season opener against Louisiana, the RiverKings offense has come to life over the last two games, scoring 10 goals in a pair of wins over Macon and Columbus. The offense has been aided by production from the RiverKings defensemen in those two games. 

In their win over Macon on Oct. 24, Reid Campbell scored the eventual game-winning goal, his first goal of the season. He had two goals in 45 games in 2014-15. In Friday's win over Columbus, the RiverKings got goals from defensemen Mike Grace and Dean Willmott. Grace matched his goal total from all of last season with his first goal of the season, while Willmott is in his first season with the RiverKings. The defense has accounted for three of the 10 goals (30.0%) for the RiverKings in the first two weeks of the season. That puts them well ahead of the goal-scoring pace from the blue line last year, as the defense scored 22 of the team's 169 goals (13.0%) last year. 

Game 3: RiverKings double up Cottonmouths, 6-3

The RiverKings scored three goals in the first 4:07 of the second period and five total over the final two periods to roll the Columbus Cottonmouths, 6-3, Oct. 30 at the Columbus Civic Center.

The Cottonmouths took a 1-0 lead at 5:33 of the first on a goal from Kyle Brodie, but from there it was all RiverKings. Mark Pustin tied the game a 8:29 of the first, converting on a 2-on-1 with Matt Harrington. Then Linden Bahm started the scoring in the second with a tap in just 18 seconds into the middle period. Mike Grace followed that up with a slap shot goal from the top of the left circle at 1:55 and Ryan Marcuz finished the frenzy with a snap shot from the right circle at 4:07 for a 4-1 lead. The Cottonmouths pulled back within one after getting goals from Chris Rial and Louis Belisle in the second.

Mississippi pulled away again in the third period. Dean Willmott scored his first as a RiverKing, driving a shot after a Devin Mantha faceoff win at 7:02. Later in the period Pustin scored his second of the game on a power-play goal at 13:29 for a three-goal advantage. Peter Di Salvo turned aside 35 Columbus shots, including nine in the third period, for his first win of the season.

THE WEEK AHEAD

RiverKings vs. Rivermen - Tuesday, November 3, 7:05 p.m. - Landers Center
Promo: Mustache Awareness Night – The RiverKings begin their Movember campaign and give out fake mustaches to the first 500 fans in attendance. Also, the first 1,000 fans will receive a 2015-16 magnetic RiverKings schedule. Because it is Election Day, those wearing a voter sticker also receive $2 off their tickets when purchasing at the Box Office the day of the game. 

The RiverKings open a three-game homestand at the Landers Center Tuesday night as they face the Peoria Rivermen for the first time in 2015-16. After playing 11 times last season, this is the first of seven head-to-head meetings between the teams this season.

The Rivermen have played only two games through the first two weeks of the season, and they have not played since Oct. 24. The Rivermen split two games with Pensacola to open the season in Peoria Oct. 23-24 when they opened with a 3-1 loss, but rebounded for a 4-0 win the next night. At 1-1-0 they have two points, which puts them in seventh place in the SPHL.

A trio of Rivermen lead the team with two points each through two games. Tim Hall (2g) is the only player with more than one goal for the Rivermen. Dan Bremner (1g, 1a) and Mike Gurtler (1g, 1a) also have two points. Bremner, named Peoria's captain this season, has been suspended by the SPHL for a hit in the Rivermen's Oct. 24 game and he will miss Tuesday's game against the RiverKings.

In net, the Rivermen have two-time reigning SPHL Goaltender of the Year award winner Kyle Rank, who played in one of the team's first two games. He allowed two goals on 29 shots and suffered the loss in the season opener against the Ice Flyers. Chris Rawlings, who made 30 saves for a shutout win in his first start on Oct. 24, in on load with ECHL-Utah and the Rivermen have signed Francois Brassard as Rank's backup.

RiverKings vs. Mayhem - Friday, November 6, 7:05 p.m. - Landers Center
Promo: Landmesser jersey retirement – The RiverKings will retire current Head Coach Derek Landmesser's iconic #55 jersey, which will become the third jersey retired in franchise history. The first 550 fans will receive a replica banner of the one that will be unveiled in the arena's rafters.

The RiverKings play the middle game of their three-game week as they host the Macon Mayhem for the first time. It's the second of eight matches between the teams in the regular season, and the first of five at the Landers Center.

The Mayhem enter the week after securing their first win of the season and first as the Macon Mayhem, beating the Columbus Cottonmouths, 4-0, Oct. 31 in Macon. This is the first road game of the season for Macon, after they opened their first season in Macon with four consecutive home games. At 1-2-1 the Mayhem have three points and are in sixth place in the SPHL.

Through four games the Mayhem are averaging 2.50 goals per game. Rookie forward Daniel Gentzler leads the way with four points (1g, 3a) in four games. Four players, Curtis Megginson (1g, 2a), Vadim Guskov (1g, 2a), Jesse Felten (1g, 2a) and Michael Wills (1g, 2a), all are next with three points apiece. Connor Toomey has two goals for the Mayhem and he is the only player with more than one tally to start the season.

In net, Garret Bartus is the number one starter for the Mayhem, having started three of the first four games. He is 1-1-1 with a 1.96 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage and he has a shoutout. David Jacobson got the start against the RiverKings during opening weekend and he allowed four goals and suffered the loss in his only appearance to date.

RiverKings vs. Cottonmouths - Saturday, November 7, 7:05 p.m. - Landers Center
Promo: Military Night – The RiverKings will honor the military by wearing special military inspired jerseys during the game. After the game, those jerseys will be auctioned live at the arena, with the proceeds benefiting the RiverKings ReachOut Fund. All active and retired military personnel can sit anywhere in the building for $5 by presenting their military ID when purchasing tickets at the Box Office.

The RiverKings wrap up the three-game week at home with their second meeting against the Columbus Cottonmouths in a week. It's the second match of four between the teams in the regular season, and the first at the Landers Center.

The Cottonmouths enter the week searching for their first win of the season, having lost their first four (0-3-1) to began the regular season. They lost a pair of games last week, 6-3 to the RiverKings and 4-0 against the Macon Mayhem and are being outscored 18-8 through four games. At 0-3-1 they have one point, which puts them in ninth place in the SPHL. Last year Columbus opened the season with seven straight regulation losses before reeling off 10 straight wins.

Louis Belisle, who scored a goal against the RiverKings last week, is the team's leading scorer with four points (2g, 2a) in four games. Chris Rial (2g, 1a), Tyler Henry (2g, 1a) and Andy Bathgate (3a) are all next with three points each. Rial also had a goal against the RiverKings last week while Bathgate assisted on all three goals against the RiverKings.

In net, the Cottonmouths have alternated their goalie in all four games, with Shannon Szabados playing in two of the four games so far. She is 0-1-1 for Columbus with a 4.32 goals-against average and an .898 save percentage. She allowed six goals on 38 shots against the RiverKings last week. Columbus released their opening night backup goalie after his one start and currently their second goalie is Brandon Jaeger, who also has one start for the Cottonmouths. He allowed four goals in last week's loss to Macon. 

Posted by Lukas Favale at 12:30 PM

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Schedule

Standings

TEAM GP W L OT PTS
PEO Peoria 16 11 4 1 23
PEN Pensacola 14 10 4 0 20
MRK RiverKings 15 10 5 0 20
EVV Evansville 16 9 5 2 20
HUN Huntsville 14 8 4 2 18
MAC Macon 16 7 5 4 18
KNX Knoxville 14 7 6 1 15
FAY Fayetteville 18 5 9 4 14
RKE Roanoke 15 5 8 2 12
BIR Birmingham 12 3 8 1 7
 
Full Standings

Updated: December 9, 2017