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Spraggs scores twice in debut but Ice Flyers fall 4-3

The Pensacola Ice Flyers (5-8-5) fell 4-3 to the Columbus Cottonmouths (6-11-1) on Friday night inside the Columbus Civic Center as Pensacola couldn’t capitalize on two goals by newcomer and former Cottonmouth Riley Spraggs.

In his first game with the Ice Flyers since being traded from Columbus earlier this week, Spraggs opened the scoring in the game with 2:24 left in the first period. Corey Banfield skated down the left wing boards, passed the puck over to Spraggs who then shifted to his backhand and whistled the puck into the back of the net. Louis Belisle had the other assist on the goal. Shortly thereafter, Jonathan Turk tied the game up for Columbus. Turk’s unassisted goal came with 1:12 left in the opening period.

Early in the second period, Turk cashed in for his second of the game and gave the Snakes the 2-1 lead over Pensacola. With 7:54 left in the middle period, Belisle found Spraggs at the top of the slot and Spraggs fired a long shot that beat Cottonmouths goalie Brandon Jaeger. Belisle’s assist was the only assist on the power play tally. Less than a minute later, Jesse Stoughton carried the puck into the low slot where he fired a wrister past Jaeger for an even strength goal to push Pensacola back into the lead. Andrew Schmit and Aaron Clarke had the helpers.

Columbus tied the game at three when Keegan Bruce redirected a puck past Matt Zenzola with 10:08 left in the third period. Bruce scored his second of the period with just 29 seconds left to give Columbus the 4-3 lead and secure the win for the Cottonmouths.

Matt Zenzola stopped 24 of 28 shots he faced and moved to 3-5-4 on the season.

The Ice Flyers will be back in the Pensacola Bay Center next Tuesday, Dec. 27, when they host the Macon Mayhem at 6:35 p.m. The week, and the 2016 calendar year, will close out with a home-and-home with these same Columbus Cottonmouths. Friday, Dec. 30, will be Military Appreciation Night in the Hangar at 7:05 p.m. Active duty and retired military members can purchase Center Ice tickets for 25% off with their military ID or proof of service. The Ice Flyers will then travel to Columbus, Ga. to take on the Cottonmouths on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, at 6:30 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Keith Wallace/Jurassic Photo