LAFAYETTE, La. — Halloween may have come and gone, but for the Evansville Thunderbolts, the tricks just keep on coming. The Bolts dropped their fifth straight to open the season after dropping a 3-1 decision to 4-0-0 Birmingham despite dropping 42 pucks on Bulls netminder Mavric Parks.
Time to Google Craig Simchuk All Over Again
The Birmingham captain is going to be facing the long arm of the SPHL law soon. In the second period of the Bulls/Bolts game, Craig Simchuk absolutely creamed Carter Shinkaruk while skating into the neutral zone. Simchuk was given a match penalty and a gamer for head contact. SPHL rules dictate that any match penalty is an automatic one-game suspension. Given Simchuk’s history, going back to the hit on Peoria goaltender Kyle Rank back in the 2015-16 season, he may find himself on a multi-game vacation.
Only one problem… Simchuk doesn’t appear to make head contact with Shinkaruk. Looking at the replay, Simchuk’s contact with Shinkaruk was with the shoulder, and the Bolts’ forward’s own stick seemed to make contact with the helmet. Furthermore, Simchuk didn’t take any strides toward Shinkaruk prior to the hit. The match penalty should be dropped after a review – this was simply a clean, hard hit.
The Cold War on 74 is Becoming a Cold Bore
For the second straight meeting, the Peoria Rivermen have dropped six goals on the expansion Quad City Storm, scoring 12 goals to Quad City’s three. Over the past two games, Peoria has outshot the Storm 83-51. If you only count the first two periods in each game, before Jean-Guy Trudel calls off the onslaught, the shot margin becomes an insanely lopsided 64-25. Consider the Rivermen have 13 more games against Quad City and 11 more against 0-5-0 Evansville, it may be time to begin engraving the Coffey Cup.
Aldoff 3.0 is Looking Like Hasselberg 1.0
After their season-opening shootout win in Macon, the Pensacola Ice Flyers have scored only five goals over their last four games – all losses. The Flyers lost a third-period lead against Birmingham, got blanked in Macon, and allowed five unanswered in a single period tonight against Huntsville. Andrew D’Agostini – a former ECHL starter in Brampton – leads the league in losses, has a 3.51 GAA with an .884 save percentage.
The Flyers penalty kill is at a paltry 75.0% and the total plus/minus rating is a -29. By comparison, winless Evansville is a -30 and expansion Quad City is a league-low -34. Not how a Rod Aldoff coached team should be performing. Four of the next five are at home, including two with Quad City – so there’s some time to right the ship before Thanksgiving.
Tonight’s SPHL Three Stars
★ – Justin Greenberg – Peoria – Two goals, Assist
★★ – Mavric Parks – Birmingham – Win, 41/42 Saves
★★★ – Connor Schmidt – Huntsville – 2 Power Play Goals, Game-winning Goal
On Deck – Saturday, November 3
Macon at Fayetteville – 7:30 ET
Peoria at Quad City – 7:10 CT
Knoxville at Evansville – 7:15 CT
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