Biloxi, MS — The Motor City Rockers six game winning streak came to a crashing halt at the hands of the Mississippi SeaWolves on the second to last series of the regular season.
A five goal second period erased an early Rocker lead on Friday night, and allowed Mississippi to coast to a 6-2 win. Mississippi beat Motor City 7-4 on Saturday.
Friday night belonged to SeaWolves Forward Jake Raliegh who recorded his second career hat-trick and tallied a total of five points in the win. Raleigh started the night finishing a three-on-one goal 3:27 into the first period for an early 1-0 lead. The Rockers were able to get two goals back in the first period to gain a lead, 2-1, off the sticks of Derek Makimaa and Tim Perks.
With 6:23 left in the opening frame Mike Winn created an offensive rush clearing the puck from the Rocker end. He raced it into the offensive zone and slid it to Perks in the far circle. Perks then passed it to the high slot to Makimaa who ripped a wrist shot from the high point for his 22nd of the season. Perks added his second point of the night, when he finished a centering pass to the far side post from Roman Gaudet for his 6th of the season.
Mississippi then took control at the beginning of the second period and never looked back.
Raleigh and Yianni Liarakos both added two goals in the second period as the two alternated the first three goals of the middle frame.
As the SeaWolves carried a 4-2 lead with 11:35 remaining in the second period, Mississippi spoiled the pro debut of Ricky Gonzalez who made his first start in net with a final goal by Jackson Bond to chase the young goaltender from the game.
Blake Scott replaced Gonzalez who surrendered five goals on 22 shots on the night. The lone goal that Scott let in was off the stick of Liarakos with 3:44 left in the second period. Liarakos collected a loose rebound after an initial flurry of saves by Scott, and lifted it over a falling Scott for his 17th of the season.
Saturday night also went to the SeaWolves, thanks to four unanswered goals in the first period. The Rockers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead thanks to a pregame penalty that allowed Motor City to start the first period on the power play. Declan Conway gave the Rockers the lead, 1-0, 27-seconds into the game when he took a Dante Suffredini pass into the offensive zone. As he moved into the high slot, Conway fired the puck for his 11th power play goal of the season.
Suffredini added to the lead five and half minutes later when a two-on-one was created by Makimaa. Makimaa feathered a centering pass that Suffredini finished in front of the net for his seventh of the season.
The SeaWolves then went on a scoring barrage to take a 4-2 lead in the final ten minutes of the opening period. Liarakos added the first goal, then Yaroslav Yevdokimov added two before Phillip Wong capped the scoring with 18 seconds left in the period.
Conway opened the second period with a snipe that destroyed the water bottle that cut into the lead, 4-3, 30-seconds into the middle period.
Perks earned his second of the weekend with 7:36 to play in the second period when he created a turnover at center ice, and walked the puck in for a goal to knot the score at 4-4. It was his seventh of the season.
The SeaWolves grabbed the lead back, 5-4, thanks to a goal scored by Sam Turner with 4:19 left in the second period when he went top shelf, glove side for his 10th of the year.
Liarakos then slammed the door shut in the third period with two goals to complete a six point night and the hat-trick with two goals in the final frame for a 7-4 win. Motor City and Mississippi will square off next weekend at Big Boy Arena in Fraser for the final series of the regular season. The Rockers need two points to secure the third seed in the playoffs which begin on April 21st.