2016-17 Season Review: The Strength of The Pack
HUNTSVILLE, AL- The Havoc may have seen their season come to an unexpected end in the second round, but the team still proved to be one of the best in the league, not to mention franchise history.
Huntsville wrapped up an impressive regular season with a 34-16-2-4 record, marking the most wins during a single-season in franchise history. The team posted standings points in 40 contests, which marked another franchise record, including four of their final five games on the schedule. The Havoc saw 17 wins on the road including six-straight from December 2nd to January 7th; another franchise mark. During the stretch, Huntsville outscored their opponent 2:1. The Havoc finished the regular season fourth in the SPHL, but just one point back of second place. In a tight race for the top spot for much of the season, Huntsville had their run of the mill while holding down the first-place seed for 21-games from December 30th to March 4th. During that time, the Havoc reached another milestone, recording at least a standings point in 12-straight contests.
Head coach Glenn Detulleo and assistant coach Jesse Kallechy put together an all-star caliber team that provided plenty of goals and used their speed to get through the defense. In total, Huntsville registered 200 goals on the season, marking the fourth time in team history and first in the SPHL since the 2013-14 season. Huntsville saw its first 20-goal scorer February 19th when Lou Educate racked up the first goal of the night as the Havoc went on to beat the Pensacola Ice Flyers 4-1. The Libertyville, Ill. native finished with a team-leading five game-winning goals with the team holding a 12-3 record when Educate scored.
Throughout the season, the Havoc produced goals by committee with Christian Powers finishing the regular season with 19 while Jordan Wood and John Clewlow both registered 18. Powers, a Carlisle, Ont. native, registered the most powerplay goals by any player on the team. Meanwhile, Wood led the team in scoring at home with 12 and Clewlow led with 14 goals on the road. The Brampton, Ont.
native did not register a goal at the Von Braun Center until February 24th.
The Havoc recorded the game's first goal in 31 different contests during the season including seven- straight from December 27th to January 14th. Huntsville wrapped up the regular season scoring an opening goal in four of their last five contests.
Huntsville finished the season averaging 3.57 goals per game and registered at least four in 27 of the 56 games including seven-straight from December 17th to January 7th. The team's best period of the season remained the second, scoring 79 goals during the middle frame. Huntsville's dominance in the second period showed, registering the second-most wins by any team in the league when holding a lead after 40 minutes of play. The Havoc saw the second least amount of games tied heading into the third amongst any team in the league while pulling off five third period comebacks to get the win or at least force overtime. Huntsville also became the only team in the SPHL this season to not be shutout in a contest. It marked the third time in team history and first since the 2008-09 season.
While Huntsville was not shutout this season, the goaltending tandem of Adam Courchaine and Tyler Steel combined for a franchise-tying six no-no's in the campaign. Both netminders registered three shutouts on the season, with Courchaine seeing his against Mississippi and Macon while Steel registered all three of his against the Columbus Cottonmouths on Pharmacy First ice at the Von Braun Center.
Huntsville finished the season with a 2.95 goals against average while holding a 24-1-0-1 record when giving up two or less.
With Huntsville scoring 136 while five-on-five, much of their other 64 came from special teams. The Havoc finished the season with an 18.5% success rate through 227 man-advantage opportunities; placing them third-best overall. For the team, it's the fourth best powerplay success rate in team history while seeing the third least amount of opportunities. At one point in the season, Huntsville recorded at least one man-advantage goal in seven-straight contests from January 7th to January 27th. During the stretch, the Havoc saw five or more powerplays in six.
On the flipside, Huntsville's penalty kill unit held an 86% success rate, marking the best unit in franchise history while giving up the least amount of powerplay opportunities during one season lifetime. The Havoc finished the regular season killing off each of their last 12 penalties. Huntsville went 100% on the penalty kill in four or more straight contests three different times throughout the season.
Overall on the season, Huntsville recorded a .500 or better record in each of the six months with their best month coming inDecember. During the final month of the 2016 calendar year, the Havoc finished with a 9-0-0-1 record. The league saw the addition of two new teams in Evansville, Ind. and Roanoke, Va. The Havoc finished the season with a 10-2-0-1 record combined against the Thunderbolts and the Rail Yard Dawgs.
After a successful regular season, the team headed to the playoffs for the second-straight season and 11th overall in team history. Round one saw Huntsville take on the Mississippi RiverKings for the second time in the last four seasons. The Havoc registered goals in five of the nine periods through three games while taking games one and three for the 2-1 series victory to move onto the second round.
The team's second round opponent became the Peoria Rivermen, a team Huntsville had a 4-1 record against in the regular season. After falling in game one on the road, the Havoc clawed back in game two. During what could have been their final regulation period of the season, Justin Tateson fired home a goal with 55 seconds left on the clock to send the game into overtime. Steven Phee became the second hero of the night with a goal in overtime to force game three. During the rubber match the following night, Huntsville could not overcome a three-goal first period by Peoria and saw their season come to an untimely end just one game away from the SPHL finals.
Team and personal accolades continued throughout the regular season. Huntsville showed who has the best fans in the SPHL by breaking the league record, and team's own, single-season attendance record.
This season, Huntsville saw 130,166 enter the turnstiles of the Von Braun Center through the club's 28 home contests. In doing so, the team broke the former record of 117,298 from a season ago.
Throughout the season, Huntsville saw various players receive recognition from the league for their hard work and dedication on the ice. Havoc forward Lou Educate received the first Bauer Player of the Week award of the regular season for his five-goal performance against Peoria. Meanwhile, Tyler Steel became the Bauer Player of the Month during the month of December for his 6-0 record while appearing in seven of the ten games for the Havoc. The Vernon, B.C. native finished the season in the top five in wins and save percentage amongst all goaltenders in the league.
At the end of the regular season, the SPHL announced its first and second All-SPHL teams with Huntsville seeing three nominations. Defenseman Nolan Kaiser, who finished up a career season with 7 goals and 28 assists, and forward Sy Nutkevitch, with 11 goals and 39 assists, were named to the First All-SPHL team. Player/assistant coach Stuart Stefan received his fourth appearance on the All-SPHL Second team after playing in each of the 56 season games with Huntsville for the fifth straight season.
Kaiser and Stefan finished in the top four amongst all defenseman in scoring and plus/minus rating. For Nutkevitch, the Montreal, Que. native held the second most assists by any forward in the league while remaining in the top ten in scoring.
Huntsville finished the regular season with 10 rookies on the team including Tyler French, who led the league in powerplay assists. The Havoc finished with four of the 15 top rookies in scoring, while Christian Powers forced himself into the top five in powerplay goals and shots.
The team's success and individual success of a few led to call-ups to the ECHL. Forwards Johnny Daniels and Dylan Nowakowski saw the second half of the season at the next level while Nolan Kaiser saw a brief stint with the Adirondack Thunder. Daniels, who was acquired on December 2nd in a trade with Peoria, held the longest point streak in the SPHL this season. The 11-game point streak began on December 3rd and wrapped up on January 20th with Daniels seeing his second call-up on February 9th.
Although the season did not have the ultimate outcome the team wanted, Huntsville saw their best season in franchise history and cannot thank the fans enough for their continued support. The team will work hard during the off-season to prepare for another great run for Huntsville's second President's Cup Championship in franchise history.
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Southern Professional Hockey League Stories from April 25, 2017
- 2016-17 Season Review: The Strength of The Pack - Huntsville Havoc
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