The Pensacola Ice Flyers (5-7-5) fell to the Huntsville Havoc (14-4-1) by a score of 4-2 on Saturday night inside the Pensacola Bay Center in a rough and tumble game that saw multiple fights and all four goalies play.
The first period established the chippy nature of the game. After an incident between Aaron Clarke and former Ice Flyer John Clewlow, a fight broke out that saw Clarke, Clewlow, and Brandon Blair all received five minutes for fighting. Huntsville’s Justin Tateson received a game misconduct for leaving the bench while Blair received one for Third Man In. Tateson was stretchered off the ice after a lower body injury.
The Ice Flyers got on the board first when captain Corey Banfield scored his fourth goal of the season just 49 seconds into the second period. The Havoc tied the game with a goal of their own by Tyler French less than a minute later and took the lead with a goal by Clewlow at 2:46 of the second. During a media timeout, Havoc goalie Tyler Steel speared an Ice Flyers player. Matt Zenzola saw it and took action himself leading to a goalie fight just 5:26 into the middle period. Both goalies were served five for fighting and game misconducts for continuing the altercation. Zenzola received two minutes for crossing the red line and Steel received four for spearing. As a result of the game misconducts, both teams were forced to put in their backups.
Huntsville pushed their lead to 3-1 as Johnny Daniels was camped out to the right of the Ice Flyers crease and one-timed a pass into the back of the net with 9:05 left in the second. The Ice Flyers cut the lead down to 3-2 when Aaron Clarke fired a weak shot from the right wing faceoff circle that managed to trickle past Havoc goalie Adam Courchaine. The goal came 8:17 into the third and was assisted by Andrew Schmit and Zachary Loesch.
The Ice Flyers used their timeout with 1:46 remaining and when the team returned to the ice, James Kruger stayed on the bench in favor of an extra attacker. After Pensacola turned the puck over in their own defensive zone, Huntsville’s Christian Powers scored the unassisted empty net goal to seal the Havoc victory.
Zenzola stopped 27 of the 29 shots he faced in 25:26 of action and Kruger stopped seven of the eight shots he faced in 33:46. Kruger was the goalie of record and his record now stands at 0-1-0.
The Ice Flyers will be on the toad next week for one last game before Christmas when they take on the Columbus Cottonmouths inside the Columbus Civic Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Central and fans can watch the game online at SPHLLive.com.
Photo courtesy of Keith Wallace/Jurassic Photo