By: Bill Vilona – Contributing Writer of the Pensacola Ice Flyers
Blake Young is making a habit of the dramatic.
The Ice Flyers rookie winger scored his second game-winning, overtime goal in as many games Saturday night in a 3-2 comeback win against the Quad City Storm, beginning a two-game weekend series at the Bay Center in crowd-pleasing style.
“I might pinch myself and wake up right away here,” said Young, jokingly. “No, we are all working hard out there and I happened to get a lucky bounce.
“Obviously you want to win in regulation, but it shows there is no quit in our team. Even if we have to play that extra five minutes we can still believe we can win the game.”
It was the Ice Flyers (5-2) third overtime win in four home games. Young scored midway through the five-minute overtime Saturday, which was just slightly shorter than when he lit the lamp last Saturday in a 3-2 win against Birmingham.
The Ice Flyers, winners in their last three games overall, will play Quad City again in a Sunday matinee (4 p.m.) at the Bay Center. Sunday’s game will feature a post-game autograph session for all fans after the game on the arena concourse.
Their latest win came after a sluggish first two periods The game was tied 1-1 after the first intermission and the Ice Flyer 2-1 when Ryan Marcuz scored a tying goal four minutes into the third period.
The score stayed that way until the Ice Flyers’ Eddie Matsushima found Young open and put a perfect pass on his stick that Young deposited into the net.
“I had just gotten off the bench and I saw Eddie putting in work down low and I figured if I could beat my guy to the net I might have a chance,” said Young. “He put it right on my tape and the rest is history.”
Young, 25, a 6-foot-3 winger from Saskatchewan, played the past four seasons at NCAA Division I hockey power University of Minnesota-Duluth.
He has two goals, three assists in six games with the Ice Flyers. Earlier this week, he earned Southern Professional Hockey League honors after two games against Birmingham where he had four points.
“Sometimes the puck just seems to find you, but we have been working hard as a team and it’s showing on the ice,” Young said. “Every guy is getting chances. Some are going in, some are not. If we keep working like this, it will even out at the end.”
The Ice Flyers had 46 shots on goal, doubling up Quad City in that category. But they struggled two thirds of the game to generate momentum.
“I didn’t think we played the first two periods like we have in our other games,” said Ice Flyers coach Rod Aldoff. “We just weren’t sharp. Some sloppy passing and we did not look good, but we got it done at the end.”
The Ice Flyers have scored just 16 goals in their seven games, by far the fewest in the league. But they have the fewest games. Eight other teams have played nine or more games.
“Obviously you would like to win by six or seven (goals),” Young said. “But in these tight games, you have to play a 200 feet game and it just shows defense wins championships and if we can keep puck out of our end, we might only need two or three (goals) to win.”
After Quad City (4-3-2) scored the game’s first goal, five minutes into the opening period, Patrick Megannety tied the game for the Ice Flyers two minutes later.
Marcus scored 4:17 into the third period to tie the game again.