The Pensacola Ice Flyers hockey team entertained 4,635 fans at the Pensacola Bay Center on Saturday night with a come-from-behind victory over the Mississippi Surge, 5-3.
Ice Flyers’s captain Leo Thomas opened the scoring 2:39 into the game. A period later, Justin MacDonald beat Surge netminder Kiefer Smiley to score his second goal in his second game as an Ice Flyer.
The Surge took the momentum directly away from the Ice Flyers not even 20 seconds later with a tally by Jay Silvia. Then Reid Edmondson scored 31 seconds after that to tie the game at 2.
Because of a couple of late second-period penalties by Pensacola, the Ice Flyers found themselves short by two players at the end of the second going in to the third. With the 5-on-3, Joe Harcharik unloaded a slapshot from the blueline that beat Ice Flyers goalie Gerry Festa, putting the Surge up 3-2 early in the final frame.
Just 19 seconds after that, and still shorthanded, Jordan Chong of the Ice Flyers made a break, drew a penalty and was awarded a penalty shot. As he faced Smiley, he shot the puck only to have his stick break in half, causing a weak puck to leave his stick and making it extremely easy for Smiley to turn it aside.
The tempo picked up, and the Ice Flyers began to throw everything they could at Smiley. On the power play nearing the halfway mark of the third, Pensacola crashed the net, and Bill Foster found the loose puck and banged it home to tie the game.
With just more than three minutes remaining and the score tied at 3, Ryan Raven of the Ice Flyers took a shot with a rebound that was directed right onto Chong’s stick. It was redemption for Chong, who buried the eventual game-winner and sent the 4,635 people into a frenzy.
The Surge pulled Smiley for an extra attack, but Brent Clarke took control of the puck and fired it into the empty net, ending the scoring at 5-3 for Pensacola.
Pensacola outshot Mississippi 35-24 and went 1 for 7 on power play, while the Surge went 1 for 4.
The surge host the Huntsville Havoc at 3:05 p.m. Sunday. This game concludes the Ice Flyers’ weekend.
Pensacola’s next action is at home Thursday, Jan. 24, with the earlier start at 6:05 p.m. It is College Night, when students can pre-buy $8 center-ice tickets at the Ice Flyers’ office. Pensacola travels to Louisiana on Friday and returns home to play them again at 7:05 p.m. Saturday, when they host Mascot Night and have their annual teddy bear toss in support of Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital.