The Southwest Division has a different look with Mississippi in first place with 16 points and Arkansas in second place with 14 points. Louisiana is in third place with 13 points. The IceGators are in unfamiliar territory having won the division each of the past five seasons, and they haven’t been out of first place this late in the season since December of 2000.
After losing 4-3 to Arkansas on Friday, the Sea Wolves posted a 3-1 win at Pensacola on Saturday and beat Louisiana 4-3 on Sunday. Arkansas is 6-2-2 tying the best start in its four-year history. The RiverBlades won 4-3 at Mississippi on Friday before going 1-0-1 against Columbia over the weekend. Arkansas’ 5-4 win on Sunday was its first ever against an opponent from the state of South Carolina, having previously gone 0-10-1 against teams from the Palmetto State. Louisiana went 0-2-1 last week, losing three one-goal games.
Mississippi plays only one game this week hosting Greenville on Friday. Arkansas and Louisiana meet in Lafayette on Thursday, a makeup for the October 13 game cancelled by Hurricane Lilli, and the RiverBlades and IceGators will meet again on Saturday in North Little Rock. Arkansas travels to Baton Rouge on Sunday while Louisiana will host Greenville.
Mississippi’s Steffon Walby leads the East Coast Hockey League with 22 points and three short-handed goals and he is tied for the ECHL lead with 15 assists. Walby scored the game-winning goal for the Sea Wolves on Saturday and Sunday giving him three game winners, tied for the ECHL lead with teammate Cody Bowtell, Reading’s Brian McCullough and Arkansas’ Mike Cirillo. Walby was named the Sher-Wood ECHL Player of the Month after leading the league with 12 assists and 17 points in October.
Mississippi’s Jim Baxter leads ECHL defensemen with six goals and 14 points, and he is tied for first with three power-play goals and is tied for third with eight assists. Arkansas’ Eric Long is tied for third among ECHL defensemen with eight assists, and he is tied for fifth in scoring with nine points. Louisiana’s Kevin Mitchell is tied for the ECHL lead among defensemen with 11 assists, and he is tied for third with 12 points.