The Pensacola Ice Flyers (19-16-7) were powered by a third period comeback in route to a 5-4 overtime win over the Evansville Thunderbolts (11-28-5) in front of 6,218 fans inside of the Pensacola Bay Center on Friday night.
The Ice Flyers dominated play for the majority of the first period but it was the Thunderbolts who scored first when Tommy Fiorentino scored an unassisted goal on Evansville’s first shot on goal of the game 8:56 into the first. The Ice Flyers evened the score when Aaron Clarke batted in a rebound from the left of the crease with 4:26 left in the opening period. Sean Gammage and Evan Moore assisted on the goal.
The Thunderbolts took the lead just 48 seconds into the second when Stephen Thorne put the puck past Matt Zenzola. Dave Williams made it 3-1 Evansville almost six minutes later. The Bolts went up 4-1 with 5:42 left in the second when Bo Driscoll scored. After Driscoll scored, John McLean replaced Zenzola in net for the Ice Flyers.
The Ice Flyers began mounting their comeback 7:53 into the third when Brandon Blair fired a long shot from just inside the blue line. Aaron Clarke and Josh Harris assisted on the goal. Nathan Bruyere ripped a long shot of his own to make it a 4-3 game with 9:54 left in the third. Bruyere’s goal was unassisted. With 4:53 remaining in regulation, the Ice Flyers tied the game up when Roger Tagoona fired the puck from the left wing side. Evansville goalie Tanner Milliron made the save but the puck bounced up into the air before falling down and into the net. Josh Cousineau and Louis Belisle assisted on the tying tally.
After regulation, the teams headed to a five-minute, sudden death overtime period. John Gustafsson scored the overtime winner when he fired a wrist shot past Milliron 2:07 into the extra period. Massimo Lamacchia and Bruyere assisted on the game winner.
Zenzola stopped 12 of the 16 shots he faced while McLean stopped all five shots he saw and picked up the win.
The Ice Flyers continue the weekend tomorrow night inside the Pensacola Bay Center against the Evansville Thunderbolts again at 7:05 p.m. Then on Sunday, March 5, the Ice Flyers travel to take on the Macon Mayhem at 3:05 p.m. Central.
Photo courtesy of Vanessa Johnson/Jurassic Photo