LAFAYETTE, LA — The SPHL’s busy Thanksgiving week continues with four games set for tonight.
The Ice Flyers head out to Fayetteville, Columbus hosts the IceGators in their first meeting this season while the red-hot RiverKings play the slumping Ice Bears, and the Macon Mayhem make their first trip north to Peoria.
First, we pull away from the dinner table long enough to recap the action over the past two nights.
Wednesday: Pensacola Ice Flyers 5, Louisiana IceGators 0
The IceGators were handed their worst loss since a March 6th 7-1 defeat versus Huntsville, as Matt Zenzola gets a 29-save shutout against his former team. Corey Banfield extended his point scoring streak to nine games, Joe Caveney has now scored goals in five consecutive games, Ryan Kesti scored twice, and former IceGator Steve Buco added a pair of helpers.
Thursday: Huntsville Havoc 5, Knoxville Ice Bears 1
The Havoc win their fifth game over the last seven with another solid showing. Knoxville drops their sixth in a row, narrowly avoiding a shutout with a Todd Hosmer goal with 4:05 remaining in the game. Huntsville’s Jason Popek had a pair of goals on Thanksgiving night, and seven over the past four games.
Pensacola Ice Flyers (7-3-1) at Fayetteville FireAntz (6-2-0)
- First meeting this season. Pensacola won last season’s series (5-2-1)
- Ice Flyers forward Corey Banfield is tied for the league scoring league with 14 points, and has a league-leading nine game point scoring streak.
- FireAntz center Berkley Scott has a five-game assist streak.
- Fayetteville goaltender Sean Bonar has been called up to ECHL Brampton. Parker Van Buskirk will get his 4th straight start tonight.
- The FireAntz’ Zach Carriveau and Pensacola’s Mike Krieg are tied in scoring among blueliners with nine.
Louisiana IceGators (4-5-2) at Columbus Cottonmouths (3-5-3)
- First meeting this season. Columbus won last season’s series, 4-1-2.
- Eric Levine is slated to get his first start since being signed by the IceGators.
- After losing their first seven games, the Snakes have won three of their last four.
- Cottonmouths’ leading scorer Louis Belisle has been called up to ECHL South Carolina.
- The IceGators have the lowest power play percentage (4.0%) in the league.
Mississippi RiverKings (8-2-0) at Knoxville Ice Bears (4-7-2)
- Second meeting this season. Mississippi won the first game in Southaven, 4-3, on November 20th.
- RiverKings goalie Matt Grogan was called up to ECHL Tulsa. Grogan has been replaced in the lineup by Dalton McGrath from FHL Danville.
- The Ice Bears’ Trever Hertz is tied for the SPHL scoring lead with 14 points.
- Mississippi’s Mark Pustin has the league goal scoring lead with nine.
- Knoxville’s home penalty kill percentage is 91.7%. Mississippi converts on 28.6% of power plays on the road.
Title Belt Game: Macon Mayhem (3-4-3) at Peoria Rivermen (6-3-1)
- First ever meeting between the teams.
- Peoria netminder Kyle Rank has the 2nd best GAA in the league with 2.18.
- Macon have outscored opponents 16-12 in the second period.
- Peoria have allowed the fewest shots per game in the league with 26.7.
- Pensacola @ Fayetteville, 7:05 ET
- Huntsville @ Louisiana, 7:05 CT
- Knoxville @ Mississippi, 7:05 CT
- Macon @ Peoria, 7:05 CT