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Rivermen Drop Shootout to RiverKings Saturday

March 11, 2018 - Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) - Peoria Rivermen News Release

Southaven, MS - The Peoria Rivermen never trailed by more than one goal but never led Saturday as they fell 4-3 in a shootout to the Mississippi RiverKings at Landers Center. The loss, Peoria's first since a 2-1 defeat to Evansville last Friday, drops the Rivermen to 32-11-4 on the season before next weekend's trip to second-place Pensacola.

The RiverKings started the scoring with a tally just before the midway point of the first period. With play ongoing in the Rivermen zone, the RiverKings worked it to the high slot, where defenseman Cody Walsh's drive was blocked in front of Rivermen netminder Mason Pulde. The puck bounded through the slot to the stick of RiverKings winger Pijus Rulevicious, who popped it past Pulde for the 1-0 Mississippi lead 8:46 into the contest.

The Rivermen tied the game with a goal of their own early in the second period. Peoria sent the puck from neutral ice into the left-wing corner of the RiverKings zone, and Peoria winger Alec Hagaman chased it to the corner, and sent a pass back into the left-circle, where charging Rivermen winger Cody Dion one-timed it past Mississippi goaltender Jared Rutledge for a 1-1 score at 3:28 of the period.

The RiverKings retook the lead just before the midway point of the contest. With play in neutral ice, RiverKings winger Derek Sutliffe carried into the left wing of the Rivermen zone, and his shot squeaked through Pulde's pads for the 2-2 tie score at 9:32 of the second period.

The Rivermen tied the game at two goals apiece with a marker later in the second period. One second after a Rivermen power-play expired, Peoria winger Alec Hagaman collected the put atop the Mississippi slot, and rifled a wrister through traffic and past Rutledge for the 2-2 score at 13:35 of the middle frame.

The RiverKings took their third lead of the night with a power-play tally early in the third period. With Rivermen center Jordan Carvalho in the box for holding, RiverKings center Devin Mantha carried the puck out of the left-wing corner of the Peoria zone to the top of the circle, spun, and fired a shot past Pulde's glove for the 3-2 lead at 6:08 of the third.

The Rivermen re-tied the game with a marker late in the third period. Off a faceoff in the right circle of the RiverKings zone, Rivermen center Justin Greenberg won the draw back to the point, where Peoria blueliner Brandon Rumble left a pass for teammate Mike Gurtler, who fired from the top of the circle past Rutledge for the 3-3 score at 14:27 of the third.

The game remained tied through the remainder of the third period and descended into a shootout. Each team's first shooter scored, and the next two rounds went without score. Peoria's fourth shooter was turned away before Sutliffe deked the puck around Pulde to put the RiverKings ahead. Rivermen winger Cody Dion's backhander deflected off Rutledge's arm and stayed out of the net, giving the RiverKings the 4-3 shootout win.

Pulde stopped 48 of 51 shots faced in regulation and overtime and turned away two of four Mississippi shootout attempts as he took his first loss between the pipes for the Rivermen. The loss drops Pulde to 2-0-1 on the season, and the outing marked his first start since February 10 in Birmingham.

Notes: Rulevicius's first-period goal snapped a 104:46 scoreless streak for Pulde, spanning three outings and including 65 consecutive saves...Dion logged his second goal in as many games back from Injured Reserve...Mantha's power-play goal snapped a string of 33 successful chances for Peoria's penalty-kill unit...The Rivermen return to action next weekend when they travel to Pensacola to play a pair of games against the Ice Flyers Friday and Saturday night at the Pensacola Bay Center...Friday's and Saturday's games start at 7:05 PM, and the broadcast of those games can be heard, starting with the pre-game show, at 6:45 at http://mixlr.com/peoria-rivermen/

Group, single game, and season tickets for Peoria's 35th season of professional hockey presented by Midwest Orthopaedic Center are on sale at the Toyota Box Office in the Peoria Civic Center, or by phone at the Rivermen office, located at 201 S.W. Jefferson Street, or over the phone at (309) 676-1040. For the latest Rivermen news and notes, follow online at www.rivermen.net or through Facebook (www.facebook.com/PeoriaRivermen).

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