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Sutliffe’s Four-Point Night Propels RiverKings to Sixth Straight Win

PEORIA, IL - Derek Sutliffe netted a pair of goals and notched a matching pair of helpers while Tyler Green turned away 39 shots as the RiverKings knocked off the Rivermen, 6-2.
 
The fireworks started early in Illinois, as the RiverKings jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead over their hosts. Captain Devin Mantha began a rush in the neutral zone and opted to drop back to his defense trailing the play. Finding a seam, Vytal Cote skated across the blue line and into Peoria’s ice uncontested. From the high slot, Cote ripped a wrist shot that beat Peoria goaltender Eric Levine.
 
Around three minutes later, at the 4:19 mark of the first period the RiverKings would strike again. Richard Coyne got the play moving from the defensive zone. His lead pass to Derek Sutliffe was shipped over to Daniel Tedesco who found himself in prime real estate and sniped a shot five-hole on Levine, beating the goaltender Levine who would be pulled from action and replaced by Tyler Parks.
 
The pot boiled over shortly after the second goal only 5:19 into the game, when Brant Sherwood took exception to a hit and was retaliating against Rivermen Captain Dave Pszenyczny. The pushing turned to fighting and not only between the two. RiverKings defenseman Jake Schultz locked horns with Peoria’s Ryan Siiro and again with Alec Hagaman. Having two fights, Schultz was assessed a game misconduct and removed from the game. Siiro, who came off the bench to fight, was also assessed a game misconduct and ejected as was RiverKings forward Pijus Rulevicius who got nailed for an aggressor penalty.
 
Once the dust settled, the RiverKings found themselves shorthanded with Sherwood in the box and efficiently killed the penalty and took the 2-0 lead to the first intermission. Halfway through the first, Peoria would get their first goal of the night and cut the lead in half. Dakota Klecha muscled his way around a defender, using one arm to create separation and sliding the puck along the ice past Tyler Green’s outstretched leg. Klecha’s first goal of the season brought the RiverKings lead down to 2-1.
 
With exactly one minute left in the middle frame, the RiverKings would strike again, this time it was Derek Sutliffe. Sutliffe, who assisted on Cote’s goal in the first notched his second point of the night when he beat Tyler Parks over the blocker side on a breakout started by Don Olivieri. With the lead firmly at 3-1, the RiverKings would tack on another goal only 30 seconds later. Kristaps Bazevics pinching on the nearside boards walked in and he too, went top shelf, this time beating Parks glove side and stretching the RiverKings lead to 4-1.
 
Coming out strong in the third period, Peoria was determined to come back. For the second time on the night, they cut the lead in half, this time netting their second goal. Mike Gurtler camped out in front of the net got hold of a rebound from an Alec Hagaman point blast and slid it between the legs of Tyler Green, helping Peoria climb back into the game at 4-2.
 
All of the Rivermen’s momentum was lost when only 1:01 later, the RiverKings tacked on another goal and this time it was Sutliffe shorthanded. Manning the top of the PK unit, Sutliffe came streaking in from the neutral zone, and wristed a shot from just inside the blue line that sailed past parks and the RiverKings went up by three, 5-2.
 
After Alec Hagaman was booked for roughing as well as a game misconduct for verbal abuse of officials, the RiverKings finished out the game on the power play. Dillan Fox set up along the half wall, fielded a pass from Jamie Hill and sniped a shot over the shoulder of Parks and for the second period in a row, the RiverKings scored with under a minute to go in the period. This time, it was the final goal of the game as the RiverKings moved out in front, 6-2.
 
Game Notes: Sutliffe notched four points (2 goals, two assists) and was named the games first start. The RiverKings would be outshot 41-40 with Tyler Green turning aside 39 shots. Devin Mantha was credited with an assist on the first goal of the game stretching his streak to 6 straight games. The RiverKings have won 100% of their games when Devin Mantha scores a point. Rivermen forward Alec Hagaman’s assist in the third period was his fourth point in four games. RiverKings newcomer CJ Hayes made his professional debut.
 
About the Mississippi RiverKings
The RiverKings are supported by our community partners, season ticket holders, fans, and grants from Maddox Foundation, an independent private foundation based in Hernando, Miss. To find out more about the RiverKings, call 662-342-1755 or visit RiverKings.com.
Posted by Mississippi RiverKings at 11:01 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