The Peoria Rivermen come out of their second bye week of this season looking to motivate themselves for the remainder of the regular season. Leading the SPHL with 59 points, seven points ahead of the second-place Mississippi RiverKings, the Rivs are all but assured to capture their second straight William B. Coffey Trophy for the best regular season record. Peoria has already made league history with a record 14-game winning streak and 11-game road winning streak. However, there are a few more records that Jean-Guy Trudel’s team are within reach of. The Rivs are on pace to break the 2013-14 Pensacola Ice Flyers records of 21 road wins, 38 total wins, 81 points, and .723 win percentage. Peoria is also on track to shatter the 2012-13 Columbus Cottonmouths records of 138 goals against and 2.46 goals against average. This weekend, the Rivermen host the defending President’s Cup champion Knoxville Ice Bears in a two game set on Friday and Saturday.
Road to the Playoffs Kicks into High Gear
Tonight marks the unofficial beginning of the free-for-all which is the SPHL’s version of Musical Chairs. When the music stops on April 9th, one team will be left without a seat at the postseason table. With the difference between third and last in the league standings only seven points, virtually every single game has playoff implications. Only the 28-8-3 Peoria Rivermen and the 23-11-6 Mississippi RiverKings – themselves only seven points apart – are locks to make the President’s Cup Playoffs.
Title Belt Game: Knoxville Ice Bears (20-18-3) at Peoria Rivermen (28-8-3)
- Peoria leads the series, 2-0-0, with one game decided in overtime.
- Knoxville has a six game winning streak. Their last loss was on Feb. 2 against the RiverKings.
- The Rivermen have the most minor penalties in the league with 246.
- The Ice Bears have the worst road power play with 11.1%.
Macon Mayhem (16-22-4) at Mississippi RiverKings (23-11-6)
- Mississippi leads the series, 5-0-0, with one game decided in overtime.
- The RiverKings have won eight of their last ten games.
- Macon’s Shawn Skelly, the league’s leading scorer with 44 points (19G/25A), has a goal with two assists against Mississippi.
- Mississippi (12.68 pim/gm) and Macon (14.62) are the league’s two least penalized teams.
Louisiana IceGators (18-18-4) at Pensacola Ice Flyers (20-15-3)
- Pensacola leads the series, 6-0-0, with one game decided in a shootout.
- Ice Flyers goalie John McLean returns to action after being out for almost two weeks.
- Louisiana netminder Brad Barone has returned from an ECHL callup with Florida.
- Pensacola’s Corey Banfield and Louisiana’s Luke Sandler both have six goals in their last ten games.
Fayetteville FireAntz (20-14-3) at Huntsville Havoc (20-19-3)
- The FireAntz lead the series, 3-0-0. All three games were played in Fayetteville.
- The Havoc have the second best penalty kill at home at 89.8%.
- Huntsville’s Scott Henegar & Jason Popek and Fayetteville’s Cole Wilson are the only three players to score four goals in a game this season.
- The FireAntz are 11-2-1 when scoring first.
Knoxville at Peoria – 7:05pm
Macon at Mississippi – 7:05pm
Columbus at Louisiana – 7:05pm
Fayetteville at Huntsville – 7:30pm