PENSACOLA, Fla. – The Pensacola Ice Flyers regularly contend for the title in the SPHL. A returning nucleus plus some additions hungry for a title should enhance that coming into the season.
Initial Schedule: (Home games are in BOLD and all times local):
Dec. 26 – Pensacola at Birmingham, 7 p.m. CT
Dec. 30 – Birmingham at PENSACOLA, 7:05 p.m. CT
Jan. 2 – Huntsville at PENSACOLA, 7:05 p.m. CT
Jan. 3 – Pensacola at Huntsville, 5 p.m. CT
Jan. 7 – Pensacola at Birmingham, 7:30 p.m. CT
Jan. 8 – Birmingham at PENSACOLA, 7:35 p.m. CT
Jan. 15- Macon at PENSACOLA, 7:35 p.m. CT
Jan. 17 – Pensacola at Macon, 4 p.m. CT
Jan. 22 – Pensacola at Knoxville, 7:35 p.m. CT
Head Coach – Rod Aldoff; eighth year overall, sixth with Pensacola 201-89-36 overall, 150-86-34 with Pensacola
Captain – Garrett Milan. A: Alec Hagaman and Patrick Meganetty.
Last Season – 23-11-12, finished fourth in SPHL standings.
2019-20 Season Summary:
Goaltending was the backbone in Pensacola last year, with the Ice Flyers giving up the second-fewest goals of anyone in the league. Given that, it’d be fair to call last year’s shortened season one of the what-ifs when one considers if that would have been enough to get hot in the postseason.
Hot or Not?
Peoria’s loss due to not playing this year is Pensacola’s gain. Multiple Rivermen have opted to aim for a title this year down on the Gulf Coast, notably physical forward Alec Hagaman and reigning SPHL Defenseman of the Year Nick Neville. Forward Jordan Ernst and Darren McCormick and defenseman Jake Hamilton were also on Peoria’s roster last year.
- Chase Perry – Was on half of arguably the league’s goalie tandem, posting a 2.49 GAA
- Jake Kupsky – When he was not called up for two separate ECHL stints, Kupsky was a great compliment to Perry, boasting a 1.84 GAA in 14 games.
- Garrett Milan – In a testament to how well regarded he is, Pensacola’s leading scorer from last year will wear the “C” on his chest.
- Patrick Megannetty – Should bring additional firing power coming off a season on which 26 points and 12 goals was good for third on the team.
- Alec Hagaman – Synonymous with hockey in Peoria, he heads south this year to go for a championship.
- Nick Neville – With a good part of last year’s defensemen no longer present, his two-way abilities should play a big role.
- Darren McCormick – Has hit his stride in the last two years with Fayetteville and Peoria with 64 combined points. He’s now expected to continue that for the Ice Flyers from the left-wing position.
What to Watch For?
Assuming there’s not much attrition from injuries or ECHL call-ups, goaltending should be this team’s strength. If the offensive end can match that, then the Ice Flyers can be among the league’s best. Multiple Peoria players will be in Pensacola this year, and they’ll be chasing something that has eluded them as Rivermen – an SPHL title. Balancing this infusion of talent with established leaders such as Garrett Milan, Brett D’Andrea, and Patrick Megannety may, in the end, separate Pensacola from being either good or great.
Brad Harrison is the SPHL editor and covers the Macon Mayhem for The Sin Bin. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @SinBinMayhem!