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Late Heroics Come Up Short as RiverKings Fall to Knoxville 3-2 in Shootout

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. - Third-period heroics helped the RiverKings claw back into Tuesday night's game, but fall short in the shootout, dropping a close one 3-2 to Knoxville. 

The RiverKings gave up the lead halfway through the first period when a laser from the left-wing point off the stick of Marcus Ortiz navigated itself through bodies and past Tyler Green for the first goal of the game. Despite going to the locker room at the first intermission trailing 1-0, the RiverKings did get their chances in the first period. A Matt Harrington blast rang off the elbow of the post, and a wide-right shot on a two-on-one opportunity both nearly tied the game. 

The second period would start with the RiverKings down one goal, and it shortly became two. With 3:55 having ticked off the clock, Dean Yakura netted his fourth goal of the season. Adding insult to injury, a late second-period rush led to a waved off RiverKings goal when Ralfs Grinbergs was caught too deep in the crease. Much like the first intermission, the second began with the visiting Ice Bears in the lead, this time at 2-0. 

It was the third period where the RiverKings offense and the teamwork prevailed. When it seemed like the team couldn't catch a break, Brantley Sherwood and newest RiverKings forward Peter Cicmanec cut the lead in half. Cicmanec streaked down the right win board with Sherwood on his left, a perfect feed through the defensemen led the ice-breaking goal for the RiverKings on the night. It didn't take long for Planters Bank Ice at Landers Center to erupt, only 2:56, before Ryan Marcus netted the game-tying goal, putting one past Ice Bears goalie Zoltan Hetenyi.

Through a feverous final ten minutes of the third, both goaltenders stood firm including Tyler Green who made some remarkable saves including an outstretched toe save to keep things tied.  Heading into the overtime period, the RiverKings had confidence having scored the two tying goals as well as knowing they were 3-0 in the overtime frame this season. Knoxville came into Tuesday night with a 2-2 record in OT, including a win over Macon on Saturday night. Once again, neither goaltender cracked, and for the first time this season for both teams, a shootout was needed to decide a winner. 

The first three rounds went without a single goal past Tyler Green or Zoltan Hetenyi. It would take six round and the Knoxville Ice Bears leading scorer, Berkley Scott to score a goal in the shootout sliding one through the five-hole on Tyler Green. With the chance to tie the shootout and keep his team's efforts alive, Devin Mantha was stonewalled by Hentenyi leaving Knoxville victorious and with the extra point.

The loss moves the RiverKings to 14-14-1 on the season while Knoxville goes to 16-10-2. The two teams are back at it again this Friday when they face-off for the first time in Knoxville. The RiverKings will travel to Fayetteville to take on the Marksmen on Saturday before returning on Friday, 1/26 for their fourth bout with the Ice Bears in January. January 26 is Weiner Dog Races and another RiverKings Friends and Family Four Pack night. For tickets visit riverkings.com/familypack and be sure to bring your furry friend as all dogs will be allowed to attend the game with a small $5 cash-only fee. For more information visit riverkings.com.

About the Mississippi RiverKings
The RiverKings are supported by our community partners, season ticket holders, fans, and grants from Maddox Foundation, an independent private foundation based in Hernando, Miss. To find out more about the RiverKings, call 662-342-1755 or visit RiverKings.com.

Posted by Mississippi RiverKings at 10:17 PM

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Schedule

Standings

TEAM GP W L OT PTS
PEO y-Peoria 56 38 13 5 81
MAC x-Macon 56 33 16 7 73
PEN x-Pensacola 56 33 16 7 73
HUN x-Huntsville 56 30 16 10 70
KNX x-Knoxville 56 30 20 6 66
EVV x-Evansville 56 27 20 9 63
MRK x-RiverKings 56 29 25 2 60
RKE x-Roanoke 56 26 26 4 56
BIR Birmingham 56 22 28 6 50
FAY Fayetteville 56 12 38 6 30
 
Full Standings

Updated: April 8, 2018

x-Clinched Playoff Berth
y-Clinched Regular Season Title