EVANSVILLE, IN – After a long month on the road the Evansville Thunderbolts came back home to the friendly confines of the Ford Center. During the long road trip in November, the Thunderbolts were able to pick up 11 points and players were able to bond which is something this team needed to do after the tough inaugural season they had last year. December is a great month for the Thunderbolts and the fans here in Evansville since seven out of the 11 games this month are at the Ford Center.

Thunderbolts had a week off to prepare for their December 8th game against the Macon Mayhem which was a very exciting game for the 2,507 fans in attendance. Nick D’Avolio started the Thunderbolts off just a 1:57 into the game off an assist from the Tyler Deresky and Tyler VanKleef against Macon goalie Charlie Finn who was able to stop 34 of the 37 shots he faced from a hungry Thunderbolts team. Macon answered with a goal of their own by Jake Trask tying the game at a goal apiece. Jonah Imoo was in net for the Thunderbolts and was able to stop 29 of the 32 shots he faced that night. Macon had a 3-2  lead with less than a minute left in the game when Thunderbolts head coach Jeff Pyle pulled Imoo for the extra attacker, a move that worked in their favor. Deresky was able to put the game-tying goal into the net with less than one minute left on the clock sending the game into overtime. A scoreless overtime meant more bonus hockey for the fans in attendance. Trask was the lone goal scorer in the shootout for Macon while Dave Williams, D’Avolio, and Justin MacDonald all put a goal past Finn to give the Thunderbolts the extra point in the 4-3 victory over the Mayhem. D’Avolio’s goal in the shootout gave the Thunderbolts the win and also gave the second-year center his first professional hat trick along with Warrior Player of the Week honors.

I would say when the Mississippi RiverKings came to Evansville on December 9th being part of such an exciting night for not only the 2,376 fans in attendance but the Thunderbolts as well never crossed their minds. Christopher Hayes of the RiverKings would get his first goal of the season on Imoo to start the scoring at 8:32 into the game and the home team would take over.  Thunderbolts put five goals on the board in the first period from John Scorcia, Vankleef, Dylan Clarke, MacDonald, and Williams. Thunderbolts followed up that five-goal first period by putting another four goals on the board in the second from MacDonald, D’Avolio, and Deresky. Franchise record nine goals on the night helped the Thunderbolts move up in the standing and get one game closer to the top. One thing Thunderbolts fans were able to enjoy was watching Thunderbolts leading scorer MacDonald to get his second hat trick in an Evansville jersey, along with the two assists he added on the night. MacDonald’s third goal came on an unassisted power-play goal at 11:24 of the second period and once that goal went in the fans let the headwear fly.  MacDonald got some new hats to take with him on his trip to Glens Falls, NY as he was loaned to the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL.

Evansville travels south this week as they take on second place Pensacola Ice Flyers who are 12-4-0 this year with 24 points in the SPHL standing. Thunderbolts will face them for the first time this year at the Pensacola Bay Center in Pensacola, FL. December 16th Thunderbolts fans will be able to catch their Bolts travel to Alabama to face off with the struggling Birmingham Bulls who are currently in sole possession of last place in their inaugural season going 3-9-1 so far. Thunderbolts are on a two-game win streak right now and looking to keep that going with the strong play of boys on the ice.

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