Last night, the Huntsville Havocs welcomed the Pensacola Ice Flyers to the Roto-Rooster Ice at Propst Arena. This will be the ninth time that these teams have competed this season. Despite Huntsville being ranked third and Pensacola ranked seventh, the Havocs have only won five of the last eight games. This hints at the two teams being closer in strength than their rankings would suggest. Huntsville also has more top-20 players than Pensacola, but the Ice Flyers have the second-strongest skater in the league. Overall, yesterday’s game looked like it would be a fierce game as Pensacola fought for its spot in the SPHL playoffs.
Photo Cred: WZDX
The first period began explosively, as both teams scored a point in the first two minutes of play. This energy continued through the rest of the period, as were major offensive moves by both teams. Bodychecks, the puck being traded back and forth in play, and several broken sticks were all found on the ice yesterday! Both teams’ defenses also proved admirable, preventing more goals from being scored. This continued until the halfway point in the period, which was when Pensacola’s #44, Mitch Akins, scored the Ice Flyer’s second point. Huntsville spent the rest of the period pushing to bring the game back to a tie with 18 shots on the goal, but they failed. The first period ended with the Ice Flyers in the lead 2-1.
Photo Cred: Elite Prospects (Akins)
The second period was more stable than the first. The Havocs continued a blistering offense throughout the period, attempting another 17 shots on the goal. This was not enough to breach Pensacola’s defenses, though. Ice Flyer goalie Brad Arvanitis managed to block every shot Huntsville sent his way. The Havocs’ offense managed to keep the puck out of Pensacola’s hands, as the Ice Flyers only attempted two shots on the goal. The second period ended with the same score it began with, 2-1 in favor of the Ice Flyers.
Photo Cred: OurSports Central (Arvanitis) Photo Cred: Elite Prospects (Palmer)
The third period started as a copy of the second: Huntsville making offensive pushes and Pensacola managing to defend. The Havoc’s relentless offense would finally pay off halfway through the period. Huntsville’s #55, Mason Palmer, managed to score a point that brought the game back to a tie. Energy in the arena increased immensely after this, as the teams desperately dueled to break the tie. A foul by Ice Flyer #13 Jason Price put the Havocs on the power play, giving Huntsville the edge they needed. With Pensacola missing a player, Havoc #14 Tyler Piacentini scored a point with 3:31 on the clock, thus breaking the tie. With 1:13 on the clock, the Ice Flyers exchanged their goalie for another player to try and tie. This gambit paid off as well: with 30.3 left, Pensacola’s #16 (Kolten Olynek) scored again, which tied the game again.
Photo Cred: Pensacola Ice Flyers Photo Cred: WHNT (Piacentini)
Neither team managed to break the tie as the clock hit zero, bringing the game to overtime. Olynek gained a penalty right as overtime started, giving the Havocs an advantage in overtime play. This once again proved to be the edge they needed, as Huntsville’s #77 (Rob Darrar) scored the game-winning point. With only 45 seconds elapsed in overtime, the Havocs claimed victory 4-3.
Photo Cred: Pensacola Ice Flyers Photo Cred: Huntsville Havoc (Darrar)