The Pensacola Ice Flyers opened play in the 2017 Southern Professional Hockey League President’s Cup Playoffs by defeating the second-seeded Fayetteville FireAntz by a score of 3-1 on Tuesday night inside the Crown Coliseum.
After a scoreless first period, it appeared as though the teams would head to the second intermission still tied at zero until Massimo Lamacchia was forechecking in the corner, got ahold of the puck, skated behind the net and out into the slot where he ripped a quick wrister to make it 1-0 Ice Flyers with 2:21 remaining in the second.
Lamacchia factored into the scoring again when he fed the puck over to Stephen Hrehoriak and they both crashed the net. The puck made its way past Fayetteville goalie Sean Bonar to give the Ice Flyers a 2-0 lead 6:31 into the third period. Lamacchia had the lone assist on the goal. The FireAntz cut the Ice Flyers’ lead down to 2-1 when Evan Dixon scored his first ever SPHL playoff goal with 9:44 remaining in the third. Defenseman Jeremy Gates put the dagger in the Antz’s hearts with an unassisted, empty net goal scored with just 24 seconds remaining.
Matt Zenzola stopped 27 of 28 shots Fayetteville sent his way to pick up his eighth career playoff victory.
The Ice Flyers will return to the Pensacola Bay Center with a 1-0 series lead for Round One, Game Two on Thursday, April 13, with puck drop scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Central Time. Fans are encouraged to wear white and White Out the Hangar.