Graham dethrones RiverKings 7-4
Southaven, MS - It was a battle of Kings Tuesday night at the DeSoto Civic Center, as Nolan Graham's career high five-point performance lifted the Lubbock Cotton Kings past the Memphis RiverKings 7-4. The win in Memphis, which was Lubbock's first visit since November 17th 2001, ends a three game winless streak and places their record at 20-24-3.
The opening period was a defensive juggernaut with teams combining for just ten shots on goal, but the Kings were able to get three goals on five of their first period shots on goal. Emery Olauson kicked off the first period scoring barrage scoring on just the team's second shot on goal. Olauson was behind RiverKings goaltender Guy St. Vincent on the side of the net and when Stacey Bauman's shot trickled wide of St. Vincent, Olauson was there to cram the puck into the net for a 1-0 lead 10:33 into the game. Nolan Graham was able to grab a loose puck away from defenseman Chad McIver and circle in front of the net and backhand a shot past St. Vincent on the very next shot on goal just 2:39 later. Memphis changed netminders, replacing St. Vincent with Michael Dilorenzo, but the change did not help. Jan Melichercik was able to garner his 100th career goal on a one-timer between the slots on the first shot Dilorenzo faced. The goal came on the powerplay, extending the Kings lead to 3-0 with 1:09 remaining in the period.
The tide turned in the second period, with the RiverKings recovering from the 3-0 deficit. Ryan Campbell started it off with a power play goal 3:28 into the period and then Derek Landmesser collected a goal at the 9:11 mark to cut the deficit to 3-2. Travis Banga, the RiverKings scoring leader at home, tied the game up tallying a shorthanded goal 3:16 later.
Whatever was said during the second intermission rejuvenated the Cotton Kings, as they came back in the third period and took control of the game. Vic Periera regained the Cotton Kings lead slamming a one-timer feed from Mike Brolsma past Dilorenzo 3:47 into the period for his first goal since November 18th. Graham stepped in from their and extended the lead with a pair of goal 4:26 apart to convert his second hat trick of the season. His second goal, which came with 7:04 remaining came on the power play, extended the Lubbock lead to 6-3. The RiverKings tried to attempt a second rally with a goal by Ryan Watson as 5:49 remained, but the Kings any comeback hopes with a diving empty-net goal by Kyle Nosan with 1:40 left.
Lance Leslie registered the win in net, stopping 23 of 27 shots in his first start in over seven games. Dilorenzo was tagged with the loss, allowing 4 goals on 19 shots. Each team had a pair of power play goals, with Lubbock going 2 for 7 and Memphis going 2 for 6.
The Cotton Kings head on the bus and return back to Lubbock, where they will host the Tulsa Oilers on Thursday at the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum.
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