RiverKings Weekend Look Ahead
SOUTHAVEN, MS - Rivalries young and not so young will be renewed this weekend, when the Mississippi RiverKings of the Central Hockey League take the ice this Friday and Saturday at the DeSoto Civic Center in Southaven.
Friday night, the RiverKings meet long-time nemesis Wichita Thunder in a 7:05 PM contest at the DCC. Saturday, the expansion Allen Americans come to the DCC for a 7:05 PM encounter.
Every point is important for the RiverKings as they work toward a Central Hockey League playoff spot. Mississippi has a record of 25-21-7 for 57 points and fourth place in the CHL Northern Conference. The top five teams in each conference make the post-season playoffs and have the chance to win the Ray Miron President's Cup at the end of the season.
Of the remaining eleven games on the RiverKings' schedule only four do not involve a Northern Conference opponent. Six are at home, where Mississippi has fashioned a 15-8-3 record this season. Five are on the road, where the RiverKings are 10-13-4 this year.
Four of the five road games will be played on one more long road trip, with games in Tulsa, Allen (two-game weekend set), and Missouri between March 3rd and 7th. After that, four of the last five contests will be at home, with a quick visit to Bossier-Shreveport on March 16th to interrupt the streak.
Mississippi is back home this weekend after playing its last four games on the road, defeating Wichita in Kansas, splitting a pair of weekend games in Colorado, and losing a shootout contest Tuesday night in Missouri.
The RiverKings are currently seven points behind third-place Bossier-Shreveport, who has played two fewer games than the RiverKings. Mississippi is two points ahead of fifth-place Tulsa, which has played one fewer game, and three points in front of sixth place Missouri, which also has played one fewer contest.
The line of Ryan Held, Louis Dumont, and Darrell Stoddard has been the most productive line for Mississippi over the last several games. In the last five contests, Held has totaled eight points on five goals and three assists. Dumont and Stoddard each have scored a pair of goals in the last five games. Dumont has added five assists and Stoddard has assisted on three.
Meanwhile, goaltender Tim Boron has stepped up and excelled at the crease. Boron, who formerly played for Wichita before a deal sent him to Mississippi, has won three of his last four decisions (3-1-0). Boron's only blemish was a four-goal first period Saturday night in Colorado that ended with Mark Sibbald replacing him to start the second frame of a 6-3 Colorado victory.
Friday's opponent Wichita, while not in the hunt for a post-season spot, can still have play a role in who does make the playoffs at the end of the season. The Thunder have a record of 8-39-4 for 20 points on the season, but recently broke a seven-game winless streak with a 1-0 win over the Texas Brahmas on February 21st. Last night, February 24th, the Thunder lost to the Tulsa Oilers 5-1 at the new INTRUST Bank Arena in downtown Wichita.
A number of former RiverKings have factored strongly into the Wichita lineup in recent games. Ryan Campbell has scored two goals for Wichita since coming there in a trade and has 16 goals and 35 points for the season. Steve Makway has scored three goals and has ten points with the Thunder, part of a seven goal, 34 point campaign, which includes time spent in Mississippi. Kevin Cooper has seven goals and nine points with Wichita, part of an eleven goal, 18 point season spent between three teams, including the RiverKings.
At the goal line, former RiverKings net minder Ian Keserich has a record of 4-14-2, but has fashioned an impressive 2.76 goals-against-average and a.920 save percentage.
Saturday's opponent Allen has already qualified for a playoff spot, being the number two team in the CHL Southern Conference, behind overall league leader Odessa. In its first year, the Dallas Stars' affiliate has a record of 35-12-4 for 74 points, prior to a Thursday night home game against the Laredo Bucks. Allen will also play host to Bossier-Shreveport before their meeting with the RiverKings on Saturday night.
Entering Thursday's play, the Americans are led by Bruce Graham's 21 goals and 60 points. Chris Whitley has become one of the CHL's top goaltenders in his year in the league with a record of 27-8-3 for a goals-against-average of 2.64 and a save percentage of.913.
RIVERKING JOTTINGS... Both games this weekend for the RiverKings will be heard locally in the Mid-South on Sports 56, WHBQ-AM 560, with Bob Bakken providing the play-by-play. Air time is at 6:50 PM both nights.
RiverKings hockey is also available through the CHL-TV webcasting services of INSINC. Fans can click the "Watch Live" button on the RiverKings web site home page to access the broadcasts.
Down Syndrome Association of Memphis and the Mid-South will be the non-profit MVP for Friday's game. The Dockery Foundation and their efforts to support families with autistic children will be featured during Saturday night's game.
The Pink in the Rink night jerseys from Valentine's Day will be worn and auctioned off Friday night. They were not worn on Valentine's Day as they were delayed from the manufacturer. Post-game skates are planned after both games this weekend.
Fans looking ahead on their magnetic schedules will notice that some future games are not labeled correctly. March games on the magnetic schedules distributed at the beginning of the season were reversed in color at the time of printing. Games on the magnetic schedules listed as away games are actually home dates, and home dates on the magnetic schedules are actually away dates. Pocket schedules and the schedule on the RiverKings web site, www.riverkings.com, are correct.
The RiverKings game at Bossier-Shreveport was moved earlier this year to March 16th. The change does not show on magnetic or pocket schedules, but is on the official schedule on the RiverKings web site.
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Central Hockey League Stories from February 25, 2010
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- RiverKings Weekend Look Ahead - Mississippi RiverKings
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