Goaltender Jared Rutledge turned away 30 shots and Donald Olivieri netted his first goal in his first game back with the team, as the Mississippi RiverKings beat the Mayhem 4-1 during the team’s second Face Off Field Trip game of the year Tuesday morning at the Landers Center in Southaven.
After two games in Macon this past weekend, it was the RiverKings’ turn to play host and not only to the Mayhem, but to 4,581 excited school children from all over the Mid-South.
The fans and the RiverKings didn’t get to chance to cheer first, however, as Macon took the game’s first lead halfway through the second period.
A point shot from Brandon Pfeil, his first game back since a one-game stint in the ECHL, boomed off the right pad of Jared Rutledge with Paul Russell waiting to bury the loose puck, breaking the scoreless tie.
The RiverKings wasted no time to tie things up, 1:04 later when Olivieri wristed a shot from the point that found its way past Macon goalie Charlie Finn.
The power play goal was Olivieri’s fourth of the season and his first in his first game back with the team since returning from Rapid City of the ECHL.
Mississippi would later take the lead for good on a two-on-one opportunity later in the middle period. Shane Bennett headed down the left wing and had help from Devin Mantha across the ice, but decided to take the shot and faked out Finn, burying the puck it into an empty net.
With the 2-1 lead heading into the third period, the RiverKings continued to roll. Bennett continued a hard fore check behind the Macon goal and forced Finn to play the puck.
Finn mishandled the puck, sending it sliding to the slot where Brantley Sherwood pounced on it and fired it home giving the RiverKings a 3-1 lead.
Bryan Arneson would score an empty netter in the waning moments of the final frame, as the RiverKings prevailed, 4-1.
With the win, the RiverKings improve to 17-17-2 on the season with their first back-to-back wins since mid-Decemeber.
Macon falls to 20-10-5 on the season with the loss.
Mississippi returns to action this Friday with an away game against the Evansville (Ind.) Thunderbolts before returning home the Landers Center on Saturday night for the completion of the home-and-home series with the Thunderbolts.