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 Pensacola Ice Flyers

Bushwackers Night Success: Ice Flyers Secure Back-To-Back Wins

March 2, 2024 - SPHL (SPHL)
Pensacola Ice Flyers News Release


The Ice Flyers took on their alter identity Saturday as the Pensacola Bushwackers, then continued a recent trend of being a different team.

All in a good way.

After taking a 2-0 lead in the four minutes into the second period, the Ice Flyers grinded out a 2-1 victory against the Fayetteville Marksmen for their first back-to-back home weekend wins since December 1 and 2 when beating Peoria twice.

"I think we're all jelling," said Pensacola goaltender Stephen Mundinger, who made 34 saves - many of them creating reaction from the Bay Center crowd of 5,202 on the second annual Pensacola Bushwackers night.

"With every winning team, you just have to get hot before the playoffs and I think that's the direction we are going," Mundinger said. "Guys are buying in, doing all the right plays. It's a whole different feel in the (dressing) room in my opinion. We are going into games confident.

The win pushed the Ice Flyers (21-20, 3 OT losses) above .500 for the first time in a long while and with 45 points.

The players were attired in the Bushwacker uniforms that were so popular a year ago and that was part of a theme of other activities in the game.

FIRST PERIOD

The Ice Flyers delivered on their first power play chance. Joseph Widmar finished a perfect pass from Garrett Milan, who was fed the puck by Andy Willis. The classic "tick-tac-goal" was wristed by Widmar into the net with 13:34 remaining.

Mundinger made a big save midway through the period. The Ice Flyers finished with a 16-9 edge in shots.

SECOND PERIOD

Mitch Atkins gave the Ice Flyers a 2-0 lead less than four minutes into the period on an assist from Ivan Bondarenko. He finished a shot from the slot area and the Ice Flyers were seemingly on their way.

But the game got tight. Fayetteville got their goal with 10:17 left in the period.

Taylor Egan then got the crowd going when squaring off in a fight against Fayetteville's Ty Proffitt. Both players landed punches, but Egan won the fight with a flurry at the end that got Proffitt on the ice.

THIRD PERIOD

No scoring, but plenty of end of game drama.

Mundinger made of one of his biggest saves of the game with 8:09 left on a point-black shot by Fayetteville right in the slot area.

The Ice Flyers then got a power play opportunity with four minutes left when the Marksmen were called for too many men on the ice. They had a few shots, but nothing led to a goal.

With 1:15 left, the Marksmen pulled goaltender Ryan Kenny, who made 35 saves.

NOTABLES

Ice Flyers owner Greg Harris presented a $25,000 check to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida.

The Ice Flyers will continue online bidding for game worn Bushwacker jerseys until 7 p.m. on Sunday. Merchandise was sold at both locations.

The Ice Flyers team dentist, Dr. Ben White had a ceremonial puck drop before the game. His business, White Smiles General Dentistry was the game sponsor.

Actor "Boston Rob," a Pensacola resident who has starred on Survivor and Amazing Race TV shows followed White with a ceremonial puck drop.

The team honored front office executive Brenden Arney, who worked his 100th game Saturday night.

QUOTABLES:

Ice Flyers Coach Gary Graham:

"It was good. We're slowing trying to build some momentum. The captains had a good meeting this week to set up some long-term goals. We had 14 games left, now we have 12 games left and we're kind of breaking it up in a couple seven game segments with some goals to achieve each game. I thought it was a great idea. They are really leading right now.

Guys are stepping up right now. I thought it was a playoff style game. Both goalies played really well. Both teams checked well and both teams clamped down defensively, reminiscent of more what a playoff game would look like."

NEXT FACEOFF

WHO: Ice Flyers vs. Peoria Rivermen

WHEN: March 8-9

WHERE: Peoria Civic Center, Peoria, Illinois

ONLINE STREAMING: www.flohockey.com (subscription required).

GAME LIVE STATS: www.thesphl.com

NEXT HOME GAMES: March 15-16 vs. Huntsville Havoc

TICKETS: Available through www.iceflyers.com/tickets or at Bay Center box office on Saturday.


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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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