Record Crowds, Goaltending Highlight 2012 SPHL PlayoffsApr. 16, 2012 - 12:46:08 PM
The Columbus Cottonmouths captured the 2012 President's Cup Championship this past Saturday, defeating Pensacola in a thrilling series that featured the largest playoff crowd in SPHL history and a pair of record-setting goaltenders.
The crowd of 5,630 in Pensacola on Saturday broke the single-game playoff attendance record previously held by the Columbus Cottonmouths, who drew 4,579 for their game against Macon on April 1, 2005. Pensacola's second-round crowd of 3,442 against Knoxville on April 7 is also now the fourth-largest in league history. In addition, the Ice Flyers' playoff attendance average of 3,889 per game is the highest in playoff history.
The 2012 SPHL Playoffs will mostly be remembered for the dominating performances of the two goaltenders that met in the finals. Pensacola's Steve Christie's playoff goals-against-average of 1.17 and Columbus' Ian Vigier's mark of 1.30 both broke the record for lowest goals-against-average in a single playoff year of 1.34, set in 2006 by Fayetteville's Chad Collins.
In addition, Vigier's undefeated playoff run (6-0) matched the mark for highest winning percentage, originally set by former Cottonmouth's netminder Chad Rycroft, who went 5-0 in leading Columbus to their first President's Cup Championship in 2005. Christie's two playoff shutouts for the Ice Flyers also eclipsed the previous mark of one, held by three players.
It wasn't all goaltending when it came to the record book, however. Columbus' Greg Beller set a new postseason mark with a +12 rating, eclipsing the mark of +9 held by Chris Greene (Mississippi, 2010) and Ryan Aikia (Columbus, 2005). Sam Bowles' five-game goal-scoring streak for Columbus also matched the previous mark originally set by Knoxville's Jason Birmingham in the 2006 playoffs.
Finally, Columbus' 6-0 playoff mark set or matched league records for home, road and overall winning percentage and fewest losses in a single year.
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