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RiverKings come up short, season ends in 4-3 loss

March 14, 2004 - Central Hockey League (CHL) - Mississippi RiverKings News Release

SOUTHAVEN, MS – The two-time defending CHL champion Memphis RiverKings played their third game in as many days, and their last game of the season as they fell 4-3 to the Tulsa Oilers in front of a DeSoto Civic Center crowd of 5428 to come up just short of the CHL postseason.

Regan Harper’s 2nd goal of the night, and only his 5th of the season, gave the Oilers their eventual game winner, pushing the score to 4-1 with 7:22 gone in the third period. Harper converted a nice series of passes from forwards Chris Page and Dan Gravelle by blasting a shot past ‘Kings goaltender Jean-Francois Racine.

Tulsa had leapt ahead at the 10:21 mark when forward Jason Birmingham picked off a pass in the neutral zone and skated in on a 2 on 1. Birmingham pushed the puck through to forward Todd Marcellus who tucked his 29th tally this season past a sprawling Jean-Francois Racine.

The game was level 20 seconds later, however, as captain Don Parsons finished off a rink-wide passing combination. Parsons took Alexandre Mathieu's long lead pass and beat goaltender Rod Branch to light the lamp for his team leading 37th goal this season. Derek Landmesser also received an assist on the play.

Harper restored the Tulsa lead with 4 minutes remaining in the second period. The Tulsa defenseman took a loose puck in the neutral zone and skated in on Racine, who managed to turn aside the first shot, but could not keep the rebound out on Harper’s 4th tally this year.

The lead was doubled only 2 minutes later with the ‘Kings killing off a 4 minute double minor. Gravelle tickled the twine for the 28th time this season on a feed from Marcellus and Jason Bermingham.

The game appeared out of reach, but Parsons picked up a couple of late third period goals to bring the ‘Kings to within 1. Parsons collected his 38th goal at the 13:39 mark and completed the trick with 3:24 left with his 39th lamplighter.

The ‘Kings could not close the gap, however, as goaltender Rod Branch turned aside 39 of the 42 shots he faced en route to his 20th win on the campaign.

Racine turned aside 23 of 27 in the losing effort for Memphis. The loss drops the ‘Kings to 35-25-4 for 74 points this season, just behind Wichita and Indianapolis in the Northern Conference wild card race.

Memphis will miss the playoffs for the first time in four seasons and lose out on the opportunity to attempt a three-peat as CHL President’s Cup Champions.

All 64 RiverKings games can be heard on Easy 680 AM, as well as worldwide via SportsJuice.com. RiverKings games can also be heard inside the DeSoto Civic Center on FM frequency 107.9 FM. Select RiverKings games will also be available through CHL TV, a league-wide video streaming enterprise. CHL TV is available at www.CHLTV.com. Information on the RiverKings, including the latest roster moves, press releases, and pictures, is available at www.riverkings.com.

Group and individual game tickets for all remaining RiverKings games are available. For more information, telephone (662) 342-1755.

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