Head Coach: Derek Landmesser returns for a 6th season at the helm of the RiverKings, with a coaching record of 141-112-27.
Captain: The team has yet to release a successor to Leo Thomas.
Last Season: 28-18-10 (66 points, 3rd place) – Defeated Louisiana in first round (2-0), but lost to Pensacola in semifinals (0-2)
2015-16 Season Summary – The RiverKings had their third straight 65+ point season with a 28-18-10 record. The ten overtime losses (seven in shootouts) is an SPHL record. The Kings reigned supreme early in the season, going 12-3-1 at the quarter pole. Callups to key personnel like goaltenders Peter Di Salvo & Matt Grogan and forward Devin Mantha with an injury to Matt Harrington caused a mid-season slide. Roster instability continued to plague the Kings. The team never found consistent footing for the remainder of the regular season and slipped to third in the standings. In the playoffs, ECHL returnees spurred the RiverKings to a convincing sweep of the Louisiana IceGators. However, the Kings’ season ended at the hands of the Pensacola Ice Flyers in the semifinals.
Hot or Not?
Hot. Mississippi has had consistent regular-season success for the past three seasons and has a good mix of experience, young talent, and solid goaltending. Former IceGators goaltender Brad Barone will be an excellent complement to Peter Di Salvo. Barone and Italian import Alex Caffi will have to shoulder the load early on with Di Salvo on IR to begin the season. Forwards Todd Hosmer, Matt Harrington, and Cullen Bradshaw may team up to be the league’s top forward line.
- G Peter Di Salvo – Returning for his fourth SPHL season and his third with the RiverKings, Di Salvo spent much of last season in the ECHL.
- LW Todd Hosmer – The former scoring leader returned to the RiverKings last season after spending time with the ECHL Wichita Thunder and the Knoxville Ice Bears.
- LW Ryan Marcuz – Marcuz had his most productive season in 2015-16, scoring 17 goals and 16 assists. Should be primed for a big season.
- C Leo Thomas – Thomas retired at the end of last season after a 13-year career. Now the assistant coach of the Macon Mayhem.
- F Stathis Soumelidis – The enforcer from the Czech Republic is now with Leo Thomas and the Macon Mayhem.
- G Brad Barone – The former Louisiana IceGator netminder was the Kings’ priority signing of the summer, and is a big upgrade in net.
- C Mark Petaccio – A former teammate of Di Salvo with OHL Oshawa, Petaccio has been impressive during the preseason.
- LW Tyler Barr – Can the big enforcer find redemption after a suspension-filled season with Louisiana?
Movin’ On Up
Barone. Keep an eye on the Boston Bruins and their affiliates. If any goalies are out during the season, Barone could wind up with the ECHL Atlanta Gladiators. Barone had a strong training camp, and the door could open for the Boston College alum to make the jump to the ECHL.
Sin Bin Swami Says… The RiverKings have been a model of consistency over the past three seasons and a model of inconsistency in the postseason. Mississippi should hit 65 points in the regular season for the fourth straight season and have a good shot at reaching their second President’s Cup Final.