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Boldly Jacksonville, Presented by Swisher: Recapping the Jacksonville Icemen's 2023-24 Season

May 21, 2024 - ECHL (ECHL)
Jacksonville Icemen News Release

On this edition of Boldy Jacksonville, presented by Swisher, we recap the highlights and accomplishments of the 2023-24 Jacksonville Icemen season. The seventh season of Icemen hockey ended with a tough first round, game seven loss to the Florida Everblades. While the end result was disappointing, the season as a whole was certainly not, as the team set new records and marks both on and off the ice.

Off the ice, the team led the ECHL in both average and overall attendance for the second consecutive season and set a new average attendance record of 8,768 per game, a significant jump from the year prior of 7,749 per game. The team hosted a record 316,649 fans this season, which is the sixth highest in ECHL history. The team also hosted over a half dozen games with crowds of 10,000+ including an all-time record crowd of 14,079 on November 2, 2023. The Icemen finished sixth overall in all of North American Professional Hockey. The attendance continues to rise each season, and this growth further stabilizes the future of pro hockey in the region.

The team set a new Jacksonville Icemen club record for longest point / unbeaten in regulation streak of 14 games (January 26 - February 28).

Defensively, the Icemen finished second in the league in goals-against average at 2.71 goals allowed per game, while allowing just 195 goals all season. This marks the third straight season the Icemen have finished in the top four in the league in goals-against average.

The Icemen tied an ECHL record for second fewest shots allowed in a game at nine (9) on February 2 against Atlanta.

The Icemen were the least penalized team in the ECHL in 2023-24, averaging 8.52 penalty minutes per game. Twice this season the Icemen completed a penalty-free game; November 22, 2023, vs. S. Carolina and December 16, 2022 vs. S. Carolina marking the 99th and 100th times respectively in ECHL history that feat has taken place.

The Icemen had a knack for protecting leads in games this season. The Icemen posted a 31-0-0-1 record when leading after two periods this season. Jacksonville also outscored its opponents 91-56 in the third period, a +35 goal differential.

Chris Grando posted a remarkable rookie campaign, posting 46 points in 69 games while also managing to not commit a single penalty in the entire regular season and playoffs (76 games, 0 PIMS). In addition, Grando finished second among rookies in plus-minus with a +28.

Brendan Harris set the Jacksonville Icemen's new single season scoring mark at 66 points. The previous mark was set last season by Christopher Brown's 64 points. Brown finished second on team in scoring this season with 59 points.

Matheson Iacopelli's 27 goals this season became the second highest goal output by a Jacksonville Icemen player since the 2018-19 season when Wacey Rabbit recorded 29 goals. Iacopelli was the only player to record a hat trick for the Icemen this season. In fact, he did it twice in the month of March against Orlando and Greenville.

Riley Fiddler-Schultz recorded a team-best five-game goal scoring streak from 2/17/24 - 4/6/24.

Five Icemen players set new career highs in points, goals and assists this season (minimum two full seasons played):

Brendan Harris - 66 points (21g, 45a)

Matheson Iacopelli - 40 points (27g, 13a)

Garrett Van Wyhe - 35 points (19g, 16a)

Ivan Chukarov 28 points (5g, 23a)

Connor Russell - 13 points (1g, 12a)

Goaltender Matt Vernon set new Jacksonville Icemen club records in wins (25) and appearances (38), surpassing Charles Williams in both categories originally set in the 2020-21 season.

Head Coach Nick Luukko guided the team to its third consecutive 40+ win season. On December 31, 2023, in a game at Cincinnati, Luukko recorded his 100th career coaching win. Luukko has posted a 126-73-17 record in his three seasons with the Icemen.

ECHL League Honors & Awards

Matt Vernon: ECHL All-Rookie Team, All ECHL Second Team, ECHL Goaltender of the Month for February, ECHL Goaltender of the Week (Twice).

Michael Houser: ECHL Goaltender of the Week

Christopher Brown: ECHL Player of the Week

Icemen Team Awards

Rookie of the Year: Chris Grando

Defenseman of the Year: Ivan Chukarov

Unsung Hero Award: Garrett Van Wyhe

Community Engagement Award: Julian Kislin

Fan's Choice Award: Chris Grando

Team MVP: Christopher Brown

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