December 4, 2017 - Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) - Mississippi RiverKings
SOUTHAVEN, Miss - Dillan Fox scored two goals, and Tyler Green kicked away 39 shots as the RiverKings knocked off Roanoke 5-4 at Planters Bank Ice at Landers Center.
The RiverKings opened the scoring midway through the third period. It was the power play and Daniel Tedesco who came through at the 6:02 mark of the first frame. Defensemen Kristaps Bazevics and Ralfs Grinbergs played catch parallel to the blue line when Bazevics wound up and took a blast. The puck bounced off a body in front and landed on the waiting stick of Daniel Tedesco who netted his fifth goal of the season.
The RiverKings kept the foot on the gas as only six minutes and six seconds later, team leading scorer Derek Sutliffe stretched the lead to two. Daniel Tedesco would notch an assist - his second point of the evening - as would Devin Mantha. Tedesco found Mantha who turned around with a drop pass to find Sutliffe who rifled a shot past former RiverKings goaltender Brad Barone for the 2-0 Mississippi lead.
Still in the first period, only 35 seconds after the last goal, the RiverKings added their third of the night. Ryan Marcuz and Jamie Hill assisting on Dillan Fox's first goal of the evening and chasing Rail Yard Dawgs goaltender Brad Barone to the bench. Ryan de Melo came in as a replacement and would see his Rail Yard Dawgs get on the board four minutes later. It was Riley Spraggs, Roanoke's leader in goals, who slammed home a shot that rang off the inside of the left post and past Tyler Green, cutting the RiverKings lead to two at 3-1.
After the first intermission, it was Dillan Fox who helped regain that three-goal lead for the RiverKings. With Jamie Hill sitting in the box for slashing, Fox created a shorthanded opportunity with great individual effort. Coming out of the neutral zone with speed, Fox used a combination of speed and muscle to get in past the defense and beat Ryan de Melo moving the score to 4-2 in favor of Mississippi. The RiverKings wouldn't hold on to that three-goal lead for too long as Roanoke came roaring back, and quickly. Only 12 ticks of the clock elapsed before David Gandara beat Tyler Green and suddenly, Roanoke was back within two goals, 4-2.
With a play starting in the RiverKings defensive zone on the stick of Jake Schultz, the RiverKings would extend their lead to 5-2. Schultz found Brantley Sherwood streaking across the neutral zone ice. Sherwood's drop pass found it's intended target Pijus Rulevicius who skated high slot and snapped a wrist shot that sailed by de Melo, and the RiverKings took a 5-2 lead to the locker room for the second intermission.
It wasn't smooth sailing for the good guys in the third period, as things got dicey in the last five minutes of the game. With the extra man, Mitchell Mueller would get Roanoke's third goal of the night bringing the sore to 5-3 with 4:55 left on the clock. Only three minutes later, Roanoke head coach Sam Ftorek decided to pull goaltender de Melo, and with the extra attacker, the Rail Yard Dawgs and Travis Armstrong brought this game to within one goal with 42 seconds left to go in the third period.
The RiverKings would fight off the extra attacker for the final 42 seconds and secure the win, moving their record to 9-3-0 while Roanoke falls to 4-7-1. The RiverKings and Rail Yard Dawgs will go at it again on Saturday night for the fourth time this season with Mississippi leading the season series three games to none.
For tickets to tomorrow night's Sci-Fi themed game and the follow-up matchup with Roanoke, visit riverkings.com/ticketmaster.