The third weekend of play in the Southern Professional Hockey League got off to a rollicking start in the Cajundome on Thursday night when the Peoria Rivermen visited the Louisiana IceGators. The two rivals, meeting for the first time since the Gators defeated the Rivermen in last season’s playoffs, started out swinging and ended in a 3-1 Rivermen victory. Tonight’s four-game docket includes the Fayetteville FireAntz’ first defense of the SPHL Title Belt, round two between the Gators and Rivs, the Macon Mayhem taking their first road trip, and the Ice Bears take a trip to the beach.
Title Belt Game: Huntsville Havoc (2-1-0) at Fayetteville FireAntz (2-0-0) – 7:05pm ET
- The Havoc and FireAntz both missed the postseason last year, and are a combined 4-1-0.
- Fayetteville won the first game between the teams this year, defeating the FireAntz 2-1 on opening night.
- The FireAntz are a strong team late in games, they have outscored opponents 5-1 after the first period.
- Huntsville is leading the league in penalty minutes per game, with 34.67.
- Tonight’s game is the first of a two-game set in Fayetteville between the teams.
Peoria Rivermen (2-2-0) at Louisiana IceGators (1-2-0) – 7:05pm CT
- The Rivermen defeated the IceGators, 3-1, in last night’s opening game of a three-game set between the teams.
- Last night’s victory was the first this season for goaltender Kyle Rank, despite his 1.69 GAA and .948 SV%.
- IceGators center Jake Hauswirth is leading the SPHL in shots on goal, with 19.
- After last night’s 24 penalty minutes, Peoria defenseman Ben Woodley is now the league most penalized player with 43.
Macon Mayhem (1-2-1) at Mississippi RiverKings (3-1-0) – 7:05pm CT
- The RiverKings defeated the Mayhem in their previous meeting, 4-1, on October 24th.
- Mayhem goaltender Garrett Bartus is the current Easton SPHL Player of the Week.
- Mississippi forwards Mark Pustin, Devin Mantha, and Charles Mosey are tied for the league lead in scoring with four points.
- The Mayhem are the league’s least penalized team, averaging 13.5 minutes per game.
- The RiverKings have three power play goals – most in the league.
Knoxville Ice Bears (2-1-0) at Pensacola Ice Flyers (2-1-0) – 7:05 CT
- First meeting between the teams this season. Knoxville won last season’s series, 2-1-0.
- The Ice Bears’ Doug Reid and the Ice Flyers’ Joe Holka are both tied for the league lead in goals with three.
- Reid has the season’s only hat trick to date.
- Opponents of the Ice Flyers have not scored a power play goal in 15 attempts.
- The Ice Bears are 2-0-0 when leading after the first period.
- Huntsville at Fayetteville – 7:05pm ET
- Peoria at Louisiana – 7:05pm CT
- Columbus at Mississippi – 7:05 CT
- Knoxville at Pensacola – 7:05 CT
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