December 6, 2017 - Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) - Mississippi RiverKings
SOUTHAVEN, Miss - The RiverKings won their fifth straight game on Saturday night knocking off Evansville in overtime, 3-2. Former Evansville Thunderbolt shocked his old team in overtime going bar down and sending Planters Bank Ice at Landers Center into a frenzy on Military and Teddy Bear Toss Night.
For the first time in their five-game win streak the RiverKings weren't the team to score first in the game, this time it was the Thunderbolts who got out front early. Don Oliveri was called for a delay of game only 1:06 into the game and Chase Nieuwendyk would send the first shot on goal over the shoulder of Tyler Green and just like that the RiverKings trailed 1-0, with 17:56 left in the first period.
After the first period blunder, the RiverKings penalty kill would be perfect for the rest of the game including later in the first period when they were forced to skate a man down when Vytal Cote was booked for slashing. Despite the adversary, Mississippi held Evansville to only five shots in the first period.
That trend would continue in the second period, but the RiverKings would get the equalizer on the board first. The crowd was anxiously awaiting to throw their teddy bears onto the ice, and it was Daniel Tedesco on the power play who made it happen. Moving the puck well with contained offensive pressure, Devin Mantha fed a pass cross-ice to Derek Sutliffe who found Tedesco streaking and snapped off a wrister which beat Jonah Imoo and tied the game at 1-1.
After the teddy bears, sharks, pigs, and frogs came cascading down onto the ice, the RiverKings regained the momentum. Only seven minutes elapsed when Brant Sherwood scored his second goal of the season and his second goal in as many nights. Matt Harrington broke the play out of the RiverKings defensive zone where he found Pijus Rulevicius in the neutral zone breaking hard. Rulevicius muscled his way into the zone and got a pass off to Sherwood who sniped the corner, and the RiverKings pulled ahead 2-1.
The lead wouldn't last long before John Scorcia, and Evansville evened things back up. Only four minutes since Mississippi took the lead, former RiverKings Robbie Hall sent a pass up to SPHL leading goal scorer, Justin MacDonald. Moving hard into the zone he found Scorcia on the near side wall, and Scorcia walked in and took the shot up and over Tyler Green and just like the game was back to even 3-3, in the second period.
The third period would go by with plenty of attempts but both goaltenders stood the test and extra time was needed. Heading into the night, the RiverKings held a 1-0 record in OT, a win last week in Roanoke, while Evansville was 0-0-1 previously losing in a shootout. This game wouldn't require a shootout because the RiverKings would end it in the overtime period.
Coming off the bench, Don Oliveri slipped past the defense and was hit with a lead pass springing him free on a mini-breakaway. Olivieri launched a shot that hit the crossbar and dropped down over the goal-line, giving the RiverKings the 3-2 victory in sudden death and beating his former team.
The RiverKings registered 46 shots on goal with Jonah Imoo stopping 43. Evansville peppered RiverKings goalie Tyler Green with 20 shots, 18 of them being turned away by Green. The RiverKings move to 7-2-0 on the season while the Thunderbolts fall to 4-5-1 on the season.