Four games headline the SPHL action tonight. Last night, a trio of former teammates come back and bite the Fayetteville FireAntz. Also, the return of Louis Belisle to the Columbus Cottonmouths sparked the Snakes, but was it enough to take down the Havoc in Huntsville?
Huntsville Havoc 3, Columbus Cottonmouths 2 (OT)
Louis Belisle returned to the Snakes from the South Carolina Stingrays, and looked good doing it. Belisle scored back-to-back power play goals in the first period, but it was Huntsville’s Scott Henegar who proved to be the hero for the Havoc. Henegar punched in the game-tying goal with 1:53 remaining in regulation, then took seven seconds in overtime to net the game winner. Huntsville’s Kevin Genoe and the Cottonmouths’ Shannon Szabados were both solid in net. Genoe made 30 saves in the win for Huntsville, while Szabados stopped 32 shots in a losing effort. The Snakes get Friday night off before hosting the Fayetteville FireAntz, and Huntsville hosts the Knoxville Ice Bears tonight.
Macon Mayhem 4, Fayetteville FireAntz 3 (OT)
The Fayetteville FireAntz were unbeaten at the Crown Center going into Thursday night’s game against the last place Macon Mayhem, but it was former FireAntz Shawn Skelly, Austin Daae, and Matt Robertson combined for two goals and four assists as the Mayhem ended the FireAntz perfect home record with a 4-3 overtime win. The action shifts to central Georgia tonight as the two teams meet again tonight at the Macon Centroplex.
Friday’s Game Capsules
Title Belt Game: Mississippi RiverKings at Peoria Rivermen
- Fourth of five consecutive meetings between the teams. The RiverKings swept the Rivermen over three games last weekend.
- The RiverKings have the best road record in the league at 4-2-0.
- Both Mississippi goalies from the start of the season are on ECHL callups. Pete Di Salvo is with the Colorado Eagles, and Matt Grogan is playing for the Tulsa Oilers. Dalton McGrath will get his first SPHL start tonight.
- The Rivermen have outscored opponents 14-7 in the first period, but the RiverKings are 5-0-0 when scoring first.
Fayetteville FireAntz at Macon Mayhem
- Third meeting between the teams. Macon is 2-0-0, with one game won in overtime, against the FireAntz this season.
- The FireAntz Josh McQuade and Joe Manno both have active eight-game point scoring streaks.
- Fayetteville’s penalty killing on the road is near perfect, allowing one goal in 35 shorthanded situations.
- Macon is the league’s least penalized team with only 11.8 penalty minutes per game.
Pensacola Ice Flyers at Louisiana IceGators
- The Ice Flyers have won both previous meetings between the teams, both in Pensacola.
- John MacLean will get his first start of the season for the Ice Flyers, with Matt Zenzola on an ECHL callup to Evansville.
- Louisiana goaltenders Adam Courchaine (Norfolk) and Eric Levine (Colorado) are both on ECHL assignments. Alex Vazzano will get his first SPHL start tonight for the IceGators.
- Pensacola’s Corey Banfield is leading the league in scoring with 18 points (9G, 9A) in 15 games.
Knoxville Ice Bears at Huntsville Havoc
- The Havoc have won three of the four previous meetings. The Ice Bears won the most recent game, 4-2, last weekend in Knoxville.
- Kyle McNeil is the leading scorer in this series, with four goals and an assist against the Ice Bears.
- Huntsville’s Jason Popek leads the league in goals with ten, and Knoxville’s Trever Hertz has the most assists in the league with thirteen.
- Knoxville (83.6%) and Huntsville (81.7%) have the two lowest penalty kill success rates in the league.
- Fayetteville at Columbus: 7:30 ET
- Knoxville at Macon: 7:30 ET
- Title Belt Game: Mississippi at Peoria: 7:05 CT