Bacon makes everything better… even the Columbus Cottonmouths.

After Columbus’ faltering defense allowed the Huntsville Havoc to score three on Snakes’ goaltender Brandon Jaeger, coach Jerome Bechard decided to put the pop-culture adage to the test. After two first period goals by John Clewlow and an early second period marker by Lou Educate, Bechard sent goaltender Spencer Bacon – signed by Columbus this week – to relieve Jaeger in net.

For a while, at least, the personnel move worked. Bacon was put to the frying pan early in a play where Huntsville’s Mike Piluso had an open net in front of him. Bacon made a diving move to his left and gloved Piluso’s attempt. You can view the save of the night below.

The save seemed to give a brief spark to the Cottonmouths for the remainder of the second period. Keegan Bruce, in a textbook example of smart forechecking deep in the offensive zone, makes the hit in the corner, springs the puck out to the point, wheels in front of Havoc goaltender Adam Courchaine‘s crease, and gets the goal. Film school hockey, folks.

The Havoc would go on to win, 4-1 after Johnny Daniels extended his point scoring streak to six games with a great second effort after Bacon foiled the initial breakaway. Bacon, in a valiant effort, made 24 of 25 stops in relief of Jaeger. We won’t be surprised if the rookie from Mercyhurst gets his first start in Fayetteville on Saturday night.

We have all of last night’s highlights on our Facebook page. Click here, and we’ll send you to all of the goodies.

Our SPHL All-Star Team voting has entered full swing this past week, and the response from SPHL fans has been unbelievable. Thanks to all of you for taking part! Voting closes on January 17th, so keep on voting for your favorite players! Here’s our latest vote tally as of Thursday night.

Tonight’s Games (Weather Permitting)

Fayetteville FireAntz at Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs

  • Tonight will be the seventh time these teams have met this season, with the FireAntz winning four of the previous six games. The last meeting was on December 27th, with the FireAntz winning in overtime, 3-2.
  • Jake Hauswirth and Chris Porter have feasted on Roanoke goaltending in this series. Both players have four goals against the Dawgs.
  • Middle frame madness: The two teams have combined for 17 goals in the second period. Fayetteville edges Roanoke, 9-8, in the middle frame.
  • Dawgs Defenseman Travis Armstrong is back with a second stint in the ECHL this season. This time, Armstrong is with the Brampton Beast – a team he played for late last season. Blueliner Tim Boyle returns to the lineup tonight after a stint on IR.
  • Roanoke’s Tyler Gjurich has a three-game goal scoring streak and seven points (5G/2A) in his last five games.
  • Sin Bin Swami sez: Fayetteville is better on the road than Roanoke is at home. Even though the Rail Yard Dawgz have played better as of late. I’m not a believer yet. I like the Fire Antz.

Evansville Thunderbolts at Knoxville Ice Bears

  • Fourth game between the Bolts and Bears this season. Evansville has a 2-0-1 advantage over Knoxville, including a 3-0 shutout on December 3rd at the Ford Center. Tonight is the Thunderbolts’ first-ever visit to the KCAC.
  • Evansville netminder Tanner Milliron is up in the ECHL this week. Milliron accepted a call-up to the Quad City Mallards. Michael Doan is winless in his last three starts.
  • League assist leader Danny Cesarz of the Ice Bears has 20 helpers on the season. Only one has come against the Thunderbolts. (Sidebar: Is it wrong for me to hope Cesarz gets 74 assists – breaking Kevin Swider‘s single-season record – and zero goals this season?)
  • The Ice Bears have the league’s best penalty kill, allowing only eight goals on 111 shorthanded situations. Two of those goals were scored by Evansville’s Stephon Thorne. Thorne has been on a call-up to the ECHL Fort Wayne Komets but was released this week. No announcement from Evansville as to his status for the weekend.
  • Sin Bin Swami sez: The Great Wall of Milliron is gone. So are the Thunderbolts chances in Knoxville tonight.

Macon Mayhem at Pensacola Ice Flyers

  • The Mayhem has won both of the previous meetings against Pensacola this season, the last being a 4-1 result on December 27th.
  • This game was to be a home-and-home weekend series, but due to likely winter weather, the match scheduled in Macon for Saturday night has been cancelled. No makeup date has been announced yet.
  • Pensacola’s Max St-Cyr has been called up to the ECHL’s Greenville Swamp Rabbits. St-Cyr had seven points in nine games with the Ice Flyers.
  • Under the radar: Ohio State’s Matt Johnson has been an effective addition to the Mayhem. In 12 games since coming off of a season-opening stint on IR, Johnson has five goals and three assists with a +10 rating – including three goals and an assist in his last five games.
  • Sin Bin Swami sez: I like Macon over Pensacola because the only time I pick Pensacola is when they play the Snakes.

Peoria Rivermen at Mississippi RiverKings

  • The Rivs and Kings meet for the fourth time this season. Both teams have four points against the other in this series. Peoria has a 1-0-2 record, while Mississippi is 2-1-0.
  • This week, a pair of former Snakes take the ice for the RiverKings. Cody Castro and Corey Tyrell were sent to Mississippi in exchange for forward Alex Taulien.
  • No Rivermen player has two goals against Mississippi. Eight different Peoria players have accounted for all eight Rivermen goals scored in this series. In fact, only Mississippi’s Cullen Bradshaw is the series’ only multi-goal scorer with two.
  • Mississippi’s Brad Barone was sensational against the Rivermen last weekend. Although the second-year goalie from Boston College had a split decision in Peoria, he had a 1.93 GAA with a .947 SV% last weekend.
  • The Rivermen have scored only one power play goal on the road this season, and have not scored with the extra man against the RiverKings this season.
  • Sin Bin Swami sez: Mississippi really owes me a win and I’m going to ride that horse till it crashes. Peoria is great on the road, but Mississippi is no slouch at home. I’ll take the stinkin’ Kings again.

Tomorrow’s Games

  • Huntsville at Roanoke – 7:05 ET
  • Evansville at Knoxville – 7:30 ET
  • Peoria at Mississippi – 7:30 CT
  • Pensacola at Macon – CANCELLED
  • Columbus at Fayetteville – CANCELLED

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