Late Goal Dooms RiverKings, Fall to Havoc 5-4
SOUTHAVEN, Miss. - Ryan Salkeld scored his first goal as a RiverKing and Bryan Arneson added his fifth goal in as many games, but the RiverKings couldn't get past a late goal and fall to the Havoc, 5-4.
After falling down early in the first 3-0, the RiverKings woke up and got things in gear. Matt Harrington feathered a pass over to Ryan Salkeld in the slot who's shot changed direction on the way in, fooling Huntsville Goalie Keegan Asmundson and got the RiverKings on the board, 3-1. Around three minutes later the RiverKings would climb back within one, thanks to Bryan Arneson and the power-play unit. Arneson's goal was his sixth in seven games for the RiverKings while Devin Mantha, who assisted on the goal, increased his team lead in points to 37.
The teams would emerge from the locker room to start the second period with the RiverKings on the penalty-kill. After fighting off two early infractions, Donald Olivieri notched his second power-play goal since returning from the ECHL with a rocket from the center of the blue line. Olivieri's goal tied the game and breathed new life into the black and goal. With the score tied, the RiverKings got their first lead of the night when Mantha added his second assist of the game. Mantha worked the puck out of the corner and toward the slot, finding a pinching Ralfs Grinbergs who backhanded one past Asmundson for his second goal of the season, and more importantly the lead in the game 4-3.
Later in the second, Huntsville came roaring back with a goal by Stuart Stefan, knotting the game at four goals apiece with 3:05 left to go in the middle frame.
Just when the game looked like it was going to be decided in overtime, back luck struck the RiverKings with a vengeance. With 1:32 left to go in the game, Andy Willigar shot a hard slapper from the center line that was calmly handled by RiverKings goalie Jared Rutledge. In the process of putting the puck on the ice, the puck slipped from Rutledge's grasp and rolled across the goal line.
The RiverKings move to 19-18-2 on the season and are 0-3 against the Havoc this season. Huntsville will improve to 22-12-4 this season.
The RiverKings are on the road for their next two games against the SPHL-leading Pensacola Ice Flyers. The black and gold return home on February 23 and 24 against the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs. For tickets to February 23's Fresh Friday, visit riverkings.com/fresh and for tickets to Saturday, February 24 and Stick it to Cancer Night, visit riverkings.com/chickfila.
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