MACON, Ga. – With the chase for the postseason tightening in the SPHL, we pause to look at another team going into the weekend. Here’s a glance at the fortunes of Pensacola.
Pensacola Ice Flyers
Record: 14-17-6, 34 points
Post-season Outlook: The Ice Flyers postseason chances could easily end up being feast or famine. As it stands now, they could finish as high as third or miss the postseason altogether. As of now, Pensacola is five points ahead of fifth place but three shy of Huntsville in third place.
What’s ahead: With the Ice Flyers five remaining games including two against the Havoc, the opportunity is certainly there to make up ground toward third place. Pensacola also plays its next three at home, starting Friday against Huntsville and Saturday and Sunday against Knoxville. It’s definitely to Pensacola’s advantage to not finish fourth in the standings. That would mean a first-round matchup with Macon, which Pensacola is winless against in regulation this season.
What’s going right: With 30 points and 15 goals, Jake Wahlin continues to make a strong case for rookie of the year. His play has served as a strong complement to the experienced scoring punch of Darren McCormick, Eddie Matsushima, and Garrett Milan. The three of them each place among the SPHL’s top 13 in scoring. That kind of proven offensive talent could prove to be key in the chase for a playoff spot and beyond. Pensacola also showed some inner fortitude recently. A weekend after being soundly beaten 5-0 and 9-3 in Macon, the Ice Flyers put up a much tougher fight last weekend, losing 3-1 and 5-3. Pensacola may have fallen short last weekend, but it showed that it has no plans of being a pushover.
The Ice Flyers have also found a strong rate of success in overtime with a league-best 16 points.
What needs work? Pensacola needs to avoid the snowball effect. In their previous six games, the Ice Flyers have given up the game’s first goal four times. Pensacola has also been outscored 35-30 in the first period overall this year, the worst deficit in the SPHL other than Birmingham. Conversely, the Ice Flyers have outscored the opposition by an overall five-goal total in the third period.
The Ice Flyers could also use some improvement on the power play, where they have converted a league-worst 12.7 percent of power plays.