The Mississippi RiverKings (14-6-1) took the early lead, but fell behind and lost 4-3 to the Hunstville Havoc (15-4-1) at the Landers Center Friday, Dec. 23.
A three-on-two breakout gave the RiverKings the lead four minutes into the first on a centering pass from Cullen Bradshaw that went to Mike Moran who wristed the puck past goaltender Tyler Steel.
The Havoc answered back with a goal on the power play, scoring on a shot from Jordan Wood to tie it back at one.
The second period did not treat the RiverKings well, as the Havoc netted two more goals. Christian Powers scored on another Havoc power play that Powers put in off a rebound that the RiverKings could not clear away from the slot.
The third goal for the Havoc came after the RiverKings tried to send the puck in to the Havoc zone. The puck deflected to a Havoc Player to create a two-on-one that Dylan Nowakowski buried past 'Kings goaltender Peter Di Salvo.
Five minutes in to the third period, the Havoc netted their final goal from Educate, who grabbed a puck that ricocheted from a Sy Nutkevitch shot and put it past Di Salvo for what ended up being the game winning goal. The RiverKings pushed back scoring two straight to bring the game back to one.
A few switches of forwards gave the RiverKings new life and lead to the first goal in the third on a power play opportunity that Moran scored, his second of the night. A steal and pass to Dillan Fox created a two-on-one with Ryan Marcuz, who would finish the opportunity and beat Tyler Steel. The RiverKings would make one last push with a five-on-four chance created after offsetting minors put both teams a man down but the RiverKings could not beat Steel one last time to force an overtime.
Steel (8-3-0) stopped 54 shots from the RiverKings. Di Salvo (7-2-0) stopped 21 shots.
The RiverKings move on to the Knoxville Ice Bears for a game Tuesday, Dec. 27 with puck drop scheduled for 6:05 p.m. in Knoxville.