LAFAYETTE, LA – The race to the President’s Cup is nearing the quarter pole, and we’ll bring you a summary of the season so far next week. This weekend’s full schedule of eight games saw a few streaks come to an end, the SPHL Title Belt travels north, and a Huntsville forward wreaking havoc on goaltenders.
Title Belt Game: Peoria Rivermen 3, Macon Mayhem 1
Reunited teammates Chris Wilson and Adam Stuart – formerly of the Louisiana IceGators – combined for two goals and an assist, and Kyle Rank made 36 out of 37 saves as the Rivermen cruised past the Mayhem, 3-1.
Fayetteville FireAntz 6, Pensacola Ice Flyers 3
Although Pensacola’s Corey Banfield extended his point scoring streak to a tenth game, Joe Caveney’s goal scoring streak ended at five. The FireAntz’ stung the Ice Flyers’ Matt Zenzola for five goals, with Joe Manno netting two of them as Fayetteville took the first of a two game set, 6-3, extending their home winning streak to six games.
Louisiana IceGators 5, Columbus Cottonmouths 0
Jeremy Boyer scored the first of his two goals 30 seconds into the game, and the IceGators never looked back as they cruised to a 5-0 victory on the road in Columbus. Eric Levine, late of the Ice Flyers, notched his first professional shutout with a brilliant 44-save outing.
Mississippi RiverKings 4, Knoxville Ice Bears 2
The Ice Bears losing streak hit seven games on Friday night, as the RiverKings scored two third period goals to keep the Bears in hibernation at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum. Pete Di Salvo was solid in net with a 29-save performance.
Title Belt Game: Peoria 3, Macon 2
The Rivermen made their first successful defense of the Title Belt with a three-goal first period, then withstood a comeback attempt over the following 40 minutes to defeat the Mayhem, 3-2. Chris Wilson scored his second goal in as many games with his new team, and Mike Donnellan had a pair of assists as Peoria scored an even-strength goal, a power play goal, and a shorthanded goal within 10 minutes.
Fayetteville 4, Pensacola 3
The FireAntz completed a weekend sweep of the Ice Flyers with a third-period come-from-behind win. Zac Frischmon scored the equalizer 7:32 into the final frame and Josh McQuade potted the game-winner with 6:14 remaining as the FireAntz have now won four of their last five games. Pensacola’s Corey Banfield was held scoreless on Saturday night, ending his ten-game point scoring streak.
Huntsville 3, Louisiana 0
The road-weary IceGators returned to the Cajundome Saturday night to find a rested and prepared Huntsville Havoc team. The IceGators held the red-hot Jason Popek to an assist, but it was Brett Lutes who stepped up for Huntsville – scoring goals in the second and third periods. Rookie netminder Jordan Ruby made all 20 saves in his first professional shutout.
Knoxville 2, Mississippi 1 (SO)
The Ice Bears won their first game in eight attempts, as Brad Pawlowski scored in the ninth round of the shootout to end the RiverKings four game winning streak along with their seven game losing skid.
The Sin Bin’s Three Stars
★ – Jason Popek, Forward, Huntsville Havoc – Popek scored seven points (6G, 1A) in the Havoc’s three games this week, including a four-goal performance against the RiverKings
★★ – Jordan Ruby, Goaltender, Huntsville Havoc – Ruby allowed one goal on 52 shots in his two starts against Knoxville and Louisiana.
★★★ – Mark Pustin, Forward, Mississippi RiverKings – Pustin scored five points (3G, 2A) in three games this week, with a hat trick against Huntsville.
- Mississippi RiverKings (9-2-1, LW: 1) – The only thing disappointing about the RiverKings season is their attendance. Why is nobody going to see this team play?
- Peoria Rivermen (8-3-1, LW: 2) – The Rivermen rebounded after a tough weekend against the IceGators to sweep Macon.
- Fayetteville FireAntz (8-2-0, LW: 4) – Tough to beat on the road, near impossible to defeat on home ice. The FireAntz, with the best special teams in the league, are for real.
- Pensacola Ice Flyers (7-5-1, LW: 3) – Brilliant at home against Louisiana, lackluster on the road against Fayetteville.
- Huntsville Havoc (8-5-0, LW: 5) – Definitely not last season’s Huntsville Havoc. They’re going to surpass last season’s point total by Christmas.
- Louisiana IceGators (5-6-2, LW: 6) – The Gators ran out of gas on a tough early season six-game/nine-night holiday road stretch.
- Knoxville Ice Bears (5-8-2, LW: 7) – Knoxville finally ended their losing streak, but it took them a nine-round shootout to do so.
- Macon Mayhem (3-6-3, LW: 8) – The Mayhem were game against the Rivermen on their first long road trip. It would have made a great impression had they took a game.
- Columbus Cottonmouths (3-6-3, LW: 9) – The Snakes are getting outscored on average by a goal and a half per game. Defensive improvements need to be made.
This Week’s Games
Thursday, December 3rd
Peoria at Knoxville
Mississippi at Huntsville
Friday, December 4th
Macon at Pensacola
Fayetteville at Louisiana
Peoria at Mississippi
Knoxville at Columbus
Saturday, December 5th
Peoria at Mississippi
Fayetteville at Pensacola
Macon at Columbus
Huntsville at Knoxville
Sunday, December 6th
Fayetteville at Louisiana