Last night at the Owens Center in Peoria, the Peoria Rivermen knocked the monkey off their back. The Rivs put away the fiesty Macon Mayhem, 4-1, and ended the upset hopes of the eighth seeded team. Similar to last night’s game, the Rivermen opened the scoring on Steve Morra’s first period goal. Early in the second period with the Mayhem on the power play, Jake Trask got free and scored a shorthanded goal on Peoria goalie Kyle Rank. The Rivermen, committed to dashing Macon’s upset bid, converted the power play 27 seconds later on Dave Pszenyczny’s tally.
The Rivermen continued to roll after the Pszenyczny goal, with Steve Morra scoring his second of the night later in the second period and Alec Hagaman icing the game with an empty netter. The Rivermen advance to the second round of the SPHL Playoffs for the first time in team history, and will face the winner of tonight’s Game 3 between the Knoxville Ice Bears & Fayetteville FireAntz.
Meanwhile, in Huntsville, the Havoc hoped home ice could help them force a third game in their series against the Pensacola Ice Flyers. The Havoc got off to a perfect start with All-SPHL rookie John Lidgett scoring 27 seconds into the game, then held the Ice Flyers scoreless for the rest of the opening period.
The rest of the game, however, belonged to the Ice Flyers. Pensacola scored five unanswered goals from Anthony Calabrese and Paul Rodrigues in the second period, and Ryan Kesti, Stephen Buco, and Brandon Blair in the final frame. Buco’s third period goal, off of a beautiful pass from Joe Holka, was highlight reel worthy.
The Ice Flyers will open their semifinal series with the third-seeded Mississippi RiverKings on Thursday, April 21st at the Pensacola Bay Center. The teams will meet in the postseason for the second year in a row. Last season, the RiverKings defeated the Ice Flyers in three games. The Sin Bin will preview the RiverKings/Ice Flyers series on Wednesday.
The Fayetteville FireAntz found the answers they were looking for in Game 2 of their series against the Knoxville Ice Bears at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium. Fayetteville answered a first period goal from Knoxville’s John Clewlow and a second period marker from Doug Reid, then cruised in the third period with three goals to a 5-2 victory last night.
Speaking of Clewlow’s goal, check out the filthy finish on this coast-to-coast beauty from the Knoxville sniper.
Elliott answered Clewlow’s beauty with 21 seconds remaining in the first period, and Nick Lazorko scored the second period equalizer at the 12:58 mark of the second period. Elliott’s second goal of the night, scored on the power play, proved to be the game winner at 3:29 into the third period. The FireAntz iced the game late in the final frame with Tayler Thompson’s two tallies at 18:08 and an empty-netter with eight seconds remaining.
The FireAntz/Ice Bears series returns to Fayetteville’s Crown Center at 7:30 ET for Game 3. The winner of tonight’s game gets to face the top-seeded Peoria Rivermen for a semifinal series.