LAFAYETTE, LA — Earlier this year, on January 26th in Fayetteville, FireAntz forward Berkley Scott suffered a horrific leg injury in a game between his Fayetteville FireAntz and the Columbus Cottonmouths. Last night, after a 284-day recovery, Scott – reunited with Mike Craigen and his Knoxville Ice Bears, a team Scott spent four seasons with – took to the ice in Evansville against the Thunderbolts. Scott – ever the playmaker – scored an assist on his return to action. Knoxville was pushed to their limit against the stubborn Bolts, needing Adam Stuart overtime heroics to eke out a 4-3 victory. Welcome back, Berks.
Berkley Scott, Adam Stuart, and the rest of the Knoxville Ice Bears head down the road to Southaven, Mississippi to face Ryan Marcuz, Todd Hosmer, and the Mississippi RiverKings in The Sin Bin’s very first SPHL GAME OF THE MONTH. The Kings are looking for a little payback after failing to shake off the Macon Mayhem last night. Macon’s Nick Grasso banged home the eventual game-winner early in the third period and Garrett Bartus held the line the rest of the way to defeat Mississippi, 4-3, at Landers Center.
Peoria Rivermen center Jake Hauswirth hit a big milestone last night during his teams’ 4-1 win over the Pensacola Ice Flyers. Hauswirth scored his 100th and 101st professional goals as the 6’4″ forward had a big night at Carver Arena. Tonight, Hauswirth plays in his 100th SPHL game. Congrats, Hausy (took ya long enough!)
In addition to Hauswirth’s milestone, Rivermen forward Josh Harris notched his 100th and 101st points as a professional. Harris made an inspiring comeback to hockey late last season after suffering a knee injury prior to the 2015-16 season.
Tonight’s rematch between the Rivermen and Ice Flyers will be played without the services of Pensacola forward Stephen Buco. The league handed down a one-game suspension to Buco for a major spearing penalty leading to an ejection which occurred late in last night’s game.
Meanwhile, in Virginia… The Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs got their first goal – and their first win – on home ice last night in a 4-2 win over the visiting Fayetteville FireAntz. Peter Gintoli became the first Roanoke player to score on home ice with a first-period power play goal. Gintoli, Nick Schneider, and Bryan Dallaire all had multi-point nights in the Dawgs first-ever win at the Berglund Center.
Finally, the Huntsville Havoc successfully defended their SPHL Title Belt for the first time this season, shutting out the Columbus Cottonmouths in a 3-0 victory at the Von Braun Center. The Snakes’ setback was their first loss on the road this season. A trio of familiar names – John Lidgett, Nolan Kaiser, and Stuart Stefan – scored for the Havoc last night. The Cottonmouths travel to Fayetteville to face the FireAntz tonight, while the Havoc make their second Title Belt defense in Roanoke against the Dawgs.
Last Night’s SPHL Three Stars
★ – G Tyler Steel, Huntsville – First shutout as a professional, making 24 saves against Columbus.
★★ – C Jake Hauswirth, Peoria – Two goals, assist. 100th career professional goal.
★★★ – RW Adam Stuart, Knoxville – Overtime game-winning goal, assist.
Tonight’s Game Capsules
The Sin Bin’s SPHL Game of the Month
Knoxville Ice Bears at Mississippi RiverKings
- First meeting between the teams this season. The RiverKings won last season’s series with a 4-2-1 record.
- In a way, Todd Hosmer was the highest scoring player in last season’s series. Hosmer scored five points against the RiverKings while playing for Knoxville and an additional three points against his former mates after being traded to Mississippi.
- Ice Bears defenseman Jason Price leads all SPHL blueliners in goals with three.
- Mississippi’s Ryan Marcuz has a three-game goal scoring streak.
- Go to Twitter on @SPHLGameNight and follow the game using hashtag #KNXvsMRK
Title Belt Game: Huntsville Havoc at Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs
- The Havoc are making their second Title Belt defense in their first-ever visit to Roanoke.
- Roanoke has the league’s top home-ice penalty kill with a 92.3% success rate.
- Early last season, the Havoc were averaging almost 40 penalty minutes a game. After five games this season, Huntsville is the league’s least-penalized team with a total of 58 PIMs.
- Both teams are undefeated when scoring the first goal of the game.
Pensacola Ice Flyers at Peoria Rivermen
- Last night, Peoria defeated Pensacola 4-1 in their first game of the season between the teams.
- After a season-opening goalie carousel, Peoria’s Tyler Green has taken the starting netminder job. Green leads all SPHL goalies with a 1.09 GAA and a .959 SV%
- The Ice Flyers have yet to score a power-play goal on the road in 13 attempts.
- Peoria has a league-longest four-game streak without a regulation loss.
Columbus Cottonmouths at Fayetteville FireAntz
- First meeting between the teams this season. Columbus won four of the seven games in last season’s series and leads the all-time series, 60-37-2.
- The FireAntz have allowed the fewest shots on goal this season, averaging 25 SOG per game. In contrast, the Snakes allow a league-high 36.8 shots per game.
- Fayetteville has the league’s lowest penalty kill success rate at 72.2%.
- The Snakes’ Brandon Jaeger leads all SPHL goaltenders with 140 saves. Jaeger has a .927 SV%.
Evansville Thunderbolts at Macon Mayhem
- First ever meeting between the teams, and the Thunderbolts’ second road game. Macon and Evansville will play tonight and tomorrow afternoon.
- Macon rookie John Siemer leads the team in points with six – good for third among all league newcomers.
- Evansville remains the league’s lone unbeaten team at 0-4-2.
- The Mayhem has the top power play in the SPHL, converting on 29.4% of opportunities. At 5.0%, the Bolts are the league’s least successful team with the man advantage.
- Evansville at Macon – 4:05 EST (Turn your clocks back!)