The SPHL regular season concludes this weekend with three postseason match-ups still to be decided. Last night, the Louisiana IceGators defeated the Mississippi RiverKings in overtime, 3-2. As a result of last night’s game, the Macon Mayhem will finish with the 8th and final seed in the President’s Cup Playoffs – and secure a first round date with the Peoria Rivermen.
Speaking of Peoria, after last night’s 2-1 overtime loss to the Columbus Cottonmouths… That’s no typo. The Snakes have defeated the Rivs for the first time this season and their first win in Carver Arena since 12/27/14.
There have been plenty mentions of the Rivermen’s chance to break Pensacola’s record for the best regular season in league history and Peoria only need a win and an overtime loss to set the new record – currently at 81 points.
Last night, however, a new SPHL record was set in Louisiana. The RiverKings’ overtime loss last night was their 10th, breaking the previous record of overtime losses in a season set by the 09-10 Huntsville Havoc and 08-09 Knoxville Ice Bears.
This Weekend’s Series
Columbus Cottonmouths (19-27-8) at Peoria Rivermen (37-12-5)
- Peoria leads the season series, 4-0-1. Columbus defeated the Rivermen, 2-1 (OT), last night in the series opener.
- The Rivermen have secured home ice advantage throughout the playoffs, and the Cottonmouths are eliminated from postseason contention.
- Peoria need at least a win and overtime loss to break the 13-14 Pensacola Ice Flyers record of 81 points earned in a season.
- Columbus will need to win out to avoid having the worst record in team history this year. The 07-08 Snakes went 22-24-6 (50 pts).
Pensacola Ice Flyers (30-20-4) at Mississippi RiverKings (27-17-10)
- Sixth of seven meetings between the teams. Pensacola leads the series (3-1-1). The RiverKings have won the most recent meeting, a 4-3 shootout win in Pensacola.
- This weekend’s games are the first in the series to be played in Southaven.
- The RiverKings will set a team record for fewest regulation losses in a season this year. Both the 13-14 and 14-15 teams had 21 regulation losses.
- A regulation win by the Ice Flyers will secure the #2 seed in the President’s Cup Playoffs, and home ice through the semifinals. The RiverKings will need a regulation win and at least an overtime loss to finish second in the standings.
Knoxville Ice Bears (28-20-6) at Louisiana IceGators (25-25-4)
- Third of four games between the teams. The Ice Bears have won both previous games, most recently on February 6th.
- This is the third year in a row the Gators and Bears have met to conclude the regular season.
- Knoxville can finish as high as third in the SPHL standings, but they will need plenty of outside help to do so.
- The IceGators can lock in the sixth seed with a win and a Huntsville regulation loss.
Fayetteville FireAntz (29-21-4) at Huntsville Havoc (25-25-4)
- Sixth of seven regular season meetings. Fayetteville leads the series, 4-1-0. The last game between the teams was a 4-1 FireAntz victory on February 27th.
- The Havoc can finish as high as sixth in the standings, but can not drop past seventh.
- Fayetteville have a chance at the second seed, but they must win out and the Ice Flyers & RiverKings split their weekend series without either game going to overtime.
- The Antz’ Josh McQuade is likely to win the league’s assist scoring title with 43 going into the weekend – seven ahead of Pensacola’s Corey Banfield.
Notable Statistical Races
|Scoring – Points
Banfield (PEN) – 65
McQuade (FAY) – 63
|Scoring – Goals
Gibbons (FAY) – 31
Banfield (PEN) – 30
|Scoring – PP Goals
Caveney (PEN) – 8
Skelly (MAC) – 8
Greenside (PEO) +27
Gibbons (FAY) +26
McQuade (FAY) +25
|Goalies – Wins
Bartus (MAC) – 22
Rank (PEO) – 20
Van Buskirk (FAY) – 20
| Goalies – Save%
Bartus (MAC) – .929
Rank (PEO) – .927
Barone (LOU) – .926