November 13, 2017 - Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) - Mississippi RiverKings
ROANOKE, Virginia - After two losses the RiverKings get their first win away from Planters Bank Ice at Landers Center, knocking off the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs 4-3 in overtime. Goals from Dan Tedesco, Richard Coyne, Derek Sutliffe, and Ryan Marcuz helped seal the victory for Mississippi, keeping Roanoke winless at home this season.
In a first period marred by penalties for the RiverKings, they were able to fight off two early infractions in the first 5 minutes of the game and take the game's first lead. Vytal Cote, in his first game back after a stint in the ECHL, muscled his way into the zone around a couple of Rail Yard Dawg defenders. Circling behind the net, Cote found Dan Tedesco on the doorstep who took a handful of hacks and beat Roanoke netminder Ryan De Melo with only 60 ticks on the clock before intermission.
The RiverKings would take that 1-0 lead into the first intermission and come out firing in the second as well. Tyler Green, who is known for stopping the puck, used his stick to send along banking pass off the glass. His connection was with Derek Sutliffe who gained the offensive zone. Using a strong power move he worked in close to the net leaving a drop pass for his point man Richard Coyne. Using Sutliffe to clear the way, Coyne ripped a wrist shot that beat De Melo five-hole and took the RiverKings to a 2-0 lead.
It would be the third period where the game took on a new complexion, both physically and offensively. However, it would be the Rail Yard Dawgs who would get an early goal thanks to forward Mike Moroso, cutting the RiverKings lead in half, 2-1. Fighting down low, Moroso made a centering pass that skirted across the blue of the crease. His intended receiver was Viktor Tiutchenko, but the pass never made it there as it hit the heel of RiverKings defender Kristaps Bazevics and beat a sliding Tyler Green.
Ten minutes later, the RiverKings lead would disappear thanks to Mitchell Mueller and a 5-on-3 Roanoke power play. The penalties which began to tally up on both teams didn't seem to bother the RiverKings earlier in the game. The penalty kill handled every one with supreme effectiveness, but they weren't able to survive a 5-3. After Sutliffe got called for an interference minor midway through the third period, his teammate Brant Sherwood would get called for kneeing only 20 seconds later. At the 9:20 mark of the second period, Mueller and his teammate Collin Murray and Nick Schneider played a game of tic-tac-toe, passing back and forth with precision eventually leading to Mueller who slammed home a shot into an all but empty net.
The RiverKings wouldn't let that tie sit for long, as they tallied their third goal only 57 seconds later, this time off the stick of Derek Sutliffe, his second point of the evening. Rail Yard Dawg goaltender Ryan De Melo was caught in no man's land, way out of his crease beyond the hashes of the faceoff circle. Beating him to the puck was veteran Matt Harrington who spied his linemate Sutliffe sneaking down near the goal. A perfectly lofted pass from Harrington only had to touch a wide-open Sutliffe's stick as he expertly changed the direction of the biscuit into the net.
Roanoke upped the pressure in the latter part of the third period, spending much of the game in the RiverKings defensive zone. After Robbie Hall got called for a delay of game at the 3:20 mark of the third period, Viktor Tiutchenko cashed in for Roanoke and Tyler Green blocker side, tying the game for the second time of the game, this time at three apiece.
Just when the teams looked like they were content taking it to the 3-on-3 overtime period, Roanoke's Nick Schneider got caught tripping with 0.7 seconds left on the clock. This gave the RiverKings a clean 2-minute powerplay to start the extra frame, allowing them to play 4-on3. It was a goal off the foot of Kristaps Bazevics early in the period that allowed the Rail Yard Dawgs to get back in the game, but this time it was the foot of a RiverKing that gave them a win. Only 42 seconds into the period, while still battling on the powerplay, Devin Mantha's cross-ice pass slid through the center and banked off the foot of Ryan Marcuz and abruptly ended the game, RiverKings winning 4-3.
The RiverKings moved to 3-2-0 on the season while the Rail Yard Dawgs fall to 1-3-1. Both teams go at it again on Saturday night from Berglund Center in Roanoke, Virginia before the RiverKings return to Planters Bank Ice at Landers Center on Tuesday night in a battle against the Pensacola Ice Flyers on All-You-Can-Eat-Night. Get your tickets for All-You-Can-Eat-Night at riverkings.com/allyoucaneat.