Game Day - RiverKings at Arizona
SOUTHAVEN, MS --- The Mississippi RiverKings meet the Arizona Sundogs in Central Hockey League (CHL) action tonight in game two of a three-game series. Tonight's game at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley, Arizona begins at 8:05 PM Central and can be heard on Sports 56, WHBQ-AM Radio with Bob Bakken on the call at 7:50 PM.
Tonight's game is also available at www.sports56whbq.com and CHL-TV through the Watch Live link at the team's web site, www.riverkings.com.
An Away Game Watch Party will take place at the Southaven Buffalo Wild Wings location on Airways Boulevard north of Goodman Road, starting at 8 PM.
RIVERKINGS RECAP: Mississippi's current winless streak ran itself to five games (0-4-1) on Wednesday, March 2nd, when the Arizona Sundogs defeated the RiverKings 4-1 in Prescott Valley, Arizona. The game was the first-ever meeting between the franchises since Arizona joined the Central Hockey League. Matt Summers' power play goal in the second period resulted in the only offense for the RiverKings. Goaltender Larry Sterling faced a season-high 49 shots and made 45 saves in taking the loss at the crease. The RiverKings were outshot in the game 49-28 and scored once in four power play chances.
IT'S SUMMERS TIME AGAIN: With Wednesday's power play goal in the second period against Arizona, RiverKings forward Matt Summers scored a goal in his third straight game and has four points in his last three. Two of his three goals have also come on the power play for Summers, who is tied for third in the CHL for power play goals with 13. Summers leads the RiverKings with 23 goals, which is a career professional high for the Savage, Minnesota native, now in his third season with Mississippi. He is also second in the CHL for shooting percentage at .225 (23 goals, 102 shots). Earlier this season, Matt scored a three-goal hat trick on December 4th against Wichita, a feat the brought him CHL Player of the Week honors on December 6th.
FIVE GAME STRUGGLES: Mississippi is now in the midst of its longest winless streak of the season at 0-4-1 in its last five games. In the last quintet of games, the RiverKings have been hurt in several areas. After Matt Summers' four goals and six points, no one have averaged a point or more a game during the stretch with Chris Richards coming the closest at four points (2 goals, 2 assists). Mississippi has also struggled at the goal line, with Larry Sterling going 0-3-0 with a 5.03 goals-against-average and a .874 save percentage and Alexander Pechurskiy is 0-1-1 with a 3.93 GAA and an .869 save percentage. The RiverKings have averaged 22 penalty minutes a game in the past quintet of contests, with Russell Smith spending the most time in the sin bin at 42 minutes. Only Rusty Masters (+1) is above zero in the plus-minus statistics.
TEAM NOTES: The three wins in eleven February games marked the fewest number of Mississippi wins since October, when the CHL regular season started. The RiverKings have won seven games in November (7-6-0) and January (7-5-1)...Mississippi's best scoring period of the season is the third, when it has outscored its opposition 62-60, while being outscored by opponents 63-52 in the second frame...Mississippi leads the CHL in a number of dubious categories, including penalty minutes (1340), major penalties (62, tied with Arizona), game misconducts (16), match penalties (1, tied with several teams)...and penalty minute average per game (24.36)...Five of Mississippi's league-leading 14 shorthanded goals have come on enemy ice...The RiverKings are 0-13-0 when trailing after forty minutes away from Southaven and is 6-2-2 when ahead after forty minutes on the road...Mississippi is 3-3-3 in one-goal games away from home, but is 3-2-0 in games decided by thr ee goals on the road...the RiverKings have not won on the road since January 16th, a string of six consecutive away games.
5-Russell Smith...is tied for third in the CHL for penalty minutes with 181, which has him in a tie for the league lead in PIMS by a defenseman. Smith is also third in the CHL for minors with 48.
9-Matt Boyd...is tied for second in the league for rookie shorthanded assists with two.
16-Louis Dumont...is tied for the CHL lead (with Arizona's Joey Sides) in shorthanded goals scored with five.
26-Chris Auger...paces CHL rookies for shorthanded goals scored with three.
44-Nathan Lutz...ranks third in the CHL for power play assists with 22, which has him first in the league for helpers from the defense. Lutz stands third in points by a defenseman with 45, including 35 assists, which puts him also third in helpers at the blue line.
MISSISSIPPI ON THE ROAD: The RiverKings' 8-15-3 road record is tied with Arizona for the fewest number of away game victories from any CHL team this season, and the 19 standings points are the league watermark for road game futility. Matt Summers and Patrik Levesque lead Mississippi in goals away from home with ten each, while Nathan Lutz paces the RiverKings in points with 22 away from the DeSoto Civic Center. Eight of Summers' ten road game goals have come on the power play and two have been game-winners. Levesque has scored the first goal of the game on three occasions this seasons. Goaltender Alexander Pechurskiy has a 5-7-1 record away from home and a 3.66 goals-against-average. Larry Sterling has the better save percentage at .886. 27 of the team's 72 road game goals have been scored in the third period.
MISSISSIPPI VS. ARIZONA: Wednesday's win by Arizona came in the first ever meeting between the RiverKings and Sundogs. While Arizona's time in the Central Hockey League has been relatively brief, with this being the franchise's fifth season, the RiverKings are one of three remaining franchises from the 1992 "rebirth" of the CHL in the 1992 season, joining Wichita and Tulsa as leftovers from the original group.
RIVERKINGS STATISTICAL LEADERS:
GOALS: Matt Summers (23)
ASSISTS: Nathan Lutz (35)
POINTS: Chris Richards (48)
PLUS-MINUS: Derek Landmesser (+9)
PENALTY MINUTES: Russell Smith (181)
POWER PLAY GOALS: Summers (13)
SHORTHANDED GOALS: Louis Dumont (5)
GAME-WINNING GOALS: R.G. Flath (4)
RIVERKINGS GOALTENDING LEADERS:
GAMES PLAYED: Larry Sterling (28)
MINUTES PLAYED: Sterling (1573)
WINS: Pechurskiy (12)
SHUTOUTS: Sterling (2)
GOALS-AGAINST-AVERAGE: Pechurskiy (2.82)
SAVE PERCENTAGE: Pechurskiy (.897)
RIVERKINGS SPECIAL TEAMS: The RiverKings were 1-for-4 on the power play Wednesday night against Arizona, marking the third straight time the team has scored at least one power play goal. In the last five games, Mississippi has gone 4-for-28 (14.3%) on the power play and for the season is 51-for-314 with the extra man (16.4%). On the penalty kill, the RiverKings were 2-for-8 against Arizona Wednesday night, marking the sixth time in the last seven games for opponents to score at least one power play goal. It also marked the first time since January 16th (at Fort Wayne) that opponents have scored more than once on the power play against the RiverKings. In the last five games, Mississippi is 5-for-30 (83.3%) on the penalty kill and for the season, Mississippi is 51-for-310 (83.6%). The RiverKings have scored a league-high 14 shorthanded goals this season and have allowed nine.
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