Pensacola, Fla. - The Pensacola Ice Flyers brought their home-opening crowd to their feet on Friday night at the Pensacola Bay Center in an exciting, come-from-behind, shootout victory over their I-10 rival, Mississippi Surge, 5-4.
The Ice Flyers dominated the Surge in shots on goal, 50-24. Despite being outshot throughout the entire game, Mississippi lead 4-2 going into the third period. The Ice Flyers battled back and drew even with only 25 seconds remaining as Patrick Knowlton scored to force overtime.
After five minutes of scoreless overtime, the game went to a shootout. Ice Flyers' goaltender Steve Christie stood tall in net, stopping all five shots he faced in the shootout. The Ice Flyers' fourth shooter, Ryan Raven, was the only one able to beat the Surge's goaltender Kiefer Smiley, but that would be enough for Pensacola to take the two points and the win in their 2012-13 home opener.
Pensacola got on the board first as Bill Foster buried his first professional goal just over seven minutes into the first frame. Mississippi bounced back just over two minutes later to tie the game at one. Shawn Skelley of the Surge finished off the scoring in the first period with a power play goal just over five minutes left in the first.
Mississippi scored early in the second period to make it 3-1, but Pensacola's defenseman Tyler Soehner sent Ryan Salvis in all alone on a breakaway of which he scored to pull back within one goal of the Surge. But before the period was out, Nicholas Kuqali put the Surge up 4-2.
In the third period, captain Leo Thomas started the comeback for Pensacola, scoring six minutes into the final frame. With the game on the line and his Ice Flyers' down by a goal, head coach Gary Graham pulled Steve Christie and sent out an extra attacker in hopes to send the game to overtime. The gamble paid off as Patrick Knowlton scored with only 25 seconds left.
Overtime solved nothing and the game went into a shootout. Ice Flyer Ryan Raven came up with the game-winning goal in the shootout and Steve Christie closed the door on the Surge's last shooter to sent the crowd into a frenzy as they and the team celebrated their first win on home ice.
The Surge return home Saturday night when the Mississippi RiverKings travel to Biloxi. The Ice Flyers complete their home-opening weekend as the Louisiana IceGators come to Pensacola for the first the time this season. Puck drops at 7:05 p.m.
The Manna Food Drive at the Ice Flyers' games continues Saturday night. Fans that bring a food donation can enter to win a team-autographed jersey.
For further information about the Pensacola Ice Flyers, visit www.PensacolaIceFlyers.com or call (850) 466-3111.You can also stay informed on Ice Flyers' news through www.Facebook.com/PcolaIceFlyers or @PcolaIceFlyers.