"Slap Shot" meets "A Season on the Brink" in this twisted tale of minor league hockey in the place with more pro teams than any place in North America: TEXAS!

RiverKings Take 3-1 Series Lead
by Jason Cohen ITC Staff Writer

Memphis, TN - No offense, but the Austin Ice Bats just don't have one. Offense, that is. And somewhere along the way, the CHL's stingiest team lost their defense too.

The culprit is no secret: the defending President's Cup champion Memphis RiverKings. Wednesday, the Kings continued their quest to repeat in Game 4 of the Central Hockey League finals, shellacking Austin 7-2 to take a 3-1 series lead.

Game 5 of the best-of-seven series is Friday at the Desoto Civic Center.

Luch Nasato gave his team a 1-0 lead just 55 seconds in, coming down the slot uncovered for a set-up by Michal Stastny, who outworked several Bats behind the net. It was the fourth straight game Memphis drew first blood, and the third in which they did so early.

Don Parsons' power-play goal at 13:28 of the first gave the Kings a 2-0 lead. Memphis has scored with the extra man in every contest of the playoffs -- before the night was over they'd have 25 postseason PP tallies, breaking their own CHL record (set last year).

Austin's Matt Sharuga made it 2-1 at 6:57 of the second period, but the shift in momentum lasted just five minutes, as Brian Tucker beat Barnes with assists from A.J. Aitken and Jay Neal at 11:39.

The two-goal edge was all the Kings would need, but that didn't stop them from exploding in the third. Parsons added two more for the hat trick and a league-leading 14 playoff goals. Greg Lakovic and Riley Cote also scored for Memphis, while Pat Brownlee got one for the Bats.

Austin was without star winger Gerald Tallaire of the "STP Fuel Line," reportedly out with a broken hand suffered in Game 3.

Mark Richards made 23 saves for his 10th win of the playoffs.

The Kings won the Cup in five against these same Ice Bats last season, also winnings Games 1, 3 and 4 along the way.


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