HUNTSVILLE – The Havoc fell behind early to Pensacola and managed to tie the game and even push it to overtime, but the Ice Flyers still escaped the Rocket City with a 4-3 win.
“Pensacola played a really solid game,” said Havoc Head Coach Glenn Detulleo. “It’s disappointing that we didn’t start the game matching their intensity. While we found some life in the third, we ultimately could not complete the comeback.”
The night was not a total loss in more ways than one. First, it was the team’s annual St. Jude Night, helping raise money for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital fighting childhood cancer. From jersey auctions and donations, Havoc fans contributed more than $58,000 to help combat this dreaded disease. Secondly, the team earned a standing point by pushing the game to overtime, so the Havoc officially clinched a spot in the SPHL playoffs.
The Ice Flyers played inspired hockey, getting on the board about midway through the first period and scoring again less than a minute into the second while blanking the home team.
When the Havoc (27-14-3) went on the powerplay about 13 minutes into the middle period – one of seven powerplays for Huntsville on the night — Scott Trask redirected a blistering shot from Anthony Calabrese to cut Pensacola’s lead in half.
The Ice Flyers (20-21-4) earned their two-goal cushion back with a powerplay goal of their own about five minutes later. It seemed like the good guys would be down by two heading in to the second intermission, but the Havoc finished the period with a quick pair of scores to even it up.
With 26 ticks left on the clock, Trask shot the puck from the Ice Flyers doorstep and Ryan Salkeld put back the ensuing rebound from the slot to make it a 3-2 game. Then right before the horn sounded to end the period, as the Pensacola goalie was trying to make a cover, Christian Powers slipped his stick under the keeper’s glove and flicked the puck over the line with less than a second left on the clock, knotting up the game at 3 heading in to the second intermission.
In the third period, Huntsville was unable to take advantage of a pair of powerplay opportunities and even outshot their opponents 11 to 4, but neither team scored, and the game moved to a sudden death overtime.
This time it was Pensacola providing late heroics as Nathan Bruyere scored his second goal of the night with less than 30 seconds remaining in the bonus frame, halting the Havoc home win streak at four.
Huntsville outshot the Ice Flyers 38 to 26. The video highlights from the game can be found on the Havoc YouTube channel.
In the eight head-to-head matchups so far this year, Huntsville has won six of them – two in overtime. Both of Pensacola’s wins were in overtime.
Salkeld continues to have a career season, scoring his 50th point (22g, 28a) in only 44 games. He also extended his current point streak to seven games, matching his season-long from earlier this year.
Tyler Piacentini recorded an assist during the game, continuing his point streak as well. He has 10 points (5g, 5a) in the last seven matches.
Article and photo credit: Huntsville Havoc