Ice Flyers Match Moment With Big Night On Peanuts Night

By Bill Vilona
Ice Correspondent

The jerseys were selling as fast Friday night as the Ice Flyers were scoring.
Wearing Peanuts-theme jerseys as tribute to the famed comic strip, Peanuts Night became more memorable for the Ice Flyers with their 7-1 victory against the Macon Mayhem at the Pensacola Bay Center.

“We kept the foot on the gas for 60 minutes and with the way we can skate, our forwards can be really explosive, and when we do that we’re an impressive team,” said Ice Flyers coach Rod Aldoff.

On this night, the Ice Flyers had Snoopy’s swagger.

They outshot Macon 39-18, got a pair of power play goals, scored another pair of goals 43 seconds apart, had two other shots rattle off the goal pipes, and kept fans busy with celebratory goal dances throughout the game. It was a season-high in goals scored.

“We had some great (possession) cycles, great shots to the net,” Aldoff said “Forwards did a heck of a job. Obviously getting the goals is a lot of fun and what we’re trying to do.

(Players) put the heat on (Macon) quite a bit all the way through the game, so it really didn’t have a lull. It was very impressive and that’s the way we’ve got to play.”

They’ll get the chance to play that way again Saturday when the teams have a rematch at the Macon Centreplex in Macon, Ga. After beating Macon 6-4 on Nov. 24, the night before Thanksgiving, the Ice Flyers left that night feeling like they held on with an empty net goal to seal the game.

This time against the struggling Mayhem (2-12-1), who are just ahead of new team Vermillion County (1-10-1) in the bottom of the Southern Professional Hockey League standings, the Ice Flyers (7-5-2) remained in control.
Five different players scored goals, seven players had points.

“Coming into this game it was a mental thing,” Aldoff said. “It was about coming in with consistency, not worried about who we are playing. Playing our style, our game for 60 minutes, and skating like we can.”

Earlier Friday, winger Griff Jeszka returned via plane flight from the Orlando Solar Bears in the higher-level ECHL. He got back in time to quickly regather and get ready for the game.

When it started, Jeszka was a difference maker. He finished a tic-tac-toe set of passes from Marcus Russell and Dylan Carabia with a wrist shot into the net just 2:50 into the first period.

Jeszka then finished hard work by Ivan Bondarenko who battled to keep the puck along the boards, worked free with a shot that rebounded off the goaltender where Jeszka flicked the puck into the net. It earned him the game’s No. 1 star.

In between those goals, Weiland Parrish gave the Ice Flyers their first of two power play goals just past midpoint of the period.

“He came back (to Pensacola) this morning and jumped right in and had a great game,” Aldoff said, then added with a quip: “It’s a good thing flights from here to Orlando are only about an hour. It’s a short flight

“This is what we do for a living. We’re on busses for hours, so a 55-minute plane flight is not too bad.”

Dalton Young scored the only goal of the second period, getting a wrist shot from inside the blue line past the goaltender’s outstretch glove into the net.
In the third period, it was all Ice Flyers, who had just one penalty in the game. It was their first game in a week, allowing more practice time.

“It was a great hockey game,” Aldoff said. “It was a long wait. We played last Friday. We had a long week before the next game, so we got some skates in and obviously put the work in. The guys worked hard.”

The Ice Flyers first wore Peanuts designed jerseys in 2019 when the SPHL struck its deal with Peanuts. Each team in the SPHL gets to have its own Peanuts Night in team colors or style of choice.

The Ice Flyers went with a colorful design of black-and-gold with various designs on the jersey fronts. The larger, most-popular sizes of replica jerseys sold out before the first period ended. There was also an online auction and post-game, live auction with the players’ game-worn jerseys.
As he has done with other specialty jerseys, team owner Greg Harris had input with the jersey design.

“I was talking with Greg earlier about our specialty jerseys,” Aldoff said. “I obviously don’t get caught up in that stuff, but we have some really good ones. T
“These ones are very nice. They are lot of fun. Obviously. the fans like it and it’s a fun night and it’s all good.”

WHO: Ice Flyers vs. Macon Mayhem.
WHEN: Saturday, 6:30 p.m. (EST).
WHERE: Macon Centreplex, Macon, Ga.

NEXT HOME GAME: Dec. 16 vs. Huntsville Havoc.