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 Pensacola Ice Flyers

Game Preview: Game 1 vs Peoria Rivermen

April 10, 2024 - SPHL (SPHL)
Pensacola Ice Flyers News Release

PENSACOLA, FL - The Pensacola Ice Flyers host the Peoria Rivermen for Round 1 Game 1 of the three-game set tonight in Pensacola. Wear white and cheer on the Ice Flyers as they embark on their 2024 SPHL Playoffs journey!

Doors: 6 p.m. CT | Puck Drop: 7:05 p.m. CT

Door Giveaway: The First 1,500 fans in the arena will get a giveaway puck courtesy of Florida Blue.

Watch: FloHockey

Listen: Fox 101.1 The Fan


Ice Flyers Regular Season Record: 25-27-2-2 (54 points, 7th)

Rivermen Regular Season Record: 37-14-1-4 (79 points, 2nd)


In what promises to be an electrifying matchup, the Ice Flyers are calling on fans to create a sea of white in the stands for game 1 tonight. Remember, it's a 'White Out' game, so be sure to don your white attire to show your support! Limited edition playoff shirts can be purchased at the front of the arena from 10::00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. today and during the game at our merchandise stands.


It's your chance to win big with the Ice Flyers Foundation's 50/50 Jackpot! The lucky winner will be announced during the game tonight, on social media and at Don't miss out on this incredible opportunity to join in the fun and have a shot at a fantastic prize!

Purchase raffle tickets:

50/50 Weekend Benefactor - Canine Companions


Game Raffles - Fans can purchase Shirt-Off-His-Back Raffle and Fan Raffle tickets at the Coca-Cola Concierge located above section 111. #24 Erik Urbank's navy jersey be up for grabs in the Shirt-Off-His-Back Raffle with a team signed 15th Anniversary jersey being the night's fan raffle prize.


There have been periods and games this season where the Ice Flyers have looked the part of a contending team.

It's the kind of performance the Ice Flyers know must be summoned to pull off any kind of playoff run.

After a struggling end to the final weeks of the regular-season, the Ice Flyers have familiarity when entering another first-round series with the Peoria Riverman.

"Just belief," said Ice Flyers winger Houston Wilson. "We know we can complete with any team out there when we play our game. We have to play strong defensively, first, and that will lead to goals on the offensive side.

"And just playing smart, playing together, playing connected."

The Ice Flyers (25-27, 4 OT losses) finished seventh in the Southern Professional Hockey League standings. Peoria (37-14, 5 OT losses) is the second-seeded team. The Rivermen boast a sterling 24-1 home ice record (plus 3 OT losses) at their Carver Arena in Peoria, Illinois, where the series will shift for a game on Friday night and a deciding game, if necessary, on Saturday in the best of three series.

This is the third consecutive year the teams have met in the first round. A year ago, the Ice Flyers lost games 3-2 at the Bay Center, then 2-1 in Peoria to end their season. In 2022, the Ice Flyers lost the deciding game in Peoria of the first-round series.

The Rivermen built their strong record this year on defense. They have allowed the second-fewest goals (139) in the league, while compiling the second-most penalty minutes (1,056).

Their toughness, physical style is something Ice Flyers coach Gary Graham has tried to incorporate with roster moves in the last few weeks.

"In my experience and I have been in a lot of playoff series, you gotta be some dogs," Graham said. "It's going to be low-scoring, defense-type games. You have to play a heavy game in the playoffs.

"I've been trying to get the roster that way. At the beginning of the season, I thought we were too small of a team and I've been trying to address that the whole season - trying to get bigger guys in here that can play the style I want to play."

The Ice Flyers enter having lost four of their last five games, including a pair of road losses last weekend at Fayetteville, which is the fourth-seeded team in the SPHL playoffs.

In regular-season matchups with Peoria, the Ice Flyers went 2-3 against the Rivermen. One of the biggest moments of their season occurred on Dec. 1-2 when the Ice Flyers beat Peoria 7-4 and 2-1 on consecutive nights at the Bay Center.

"We know at playoff time, you have to be strong, you have to be physical to win games," Wilson said. "There are a lot of big, strong players in the league and you have to adapt your game sometimes.

"I feel like we have the team that has the skills to do that. We can play a heavy game, we can play skilled game."

The standout element of the Ice Flyers season has been the crowd support. After setting an attendance record a year ago, the Ice Flyers shattered that mark by drawing 148,588 fans this season to the Bay Center. Only the Huntsville Havoc, who play in a bigger arena, had a larger attendance total with 166,871.

The Ice Flyers averaged a record 5,307 per-game. They are 17-9 (2 OT losses) at home.

"Where I've played before this season, I've never had experiences like this, so playing here, the energy, the atmosphere from the crowd is really amazing," Wilson said.

Added Graham: "I'm impressed with their (fans) patience. Especially how we have played at home. We had a good start to the season (on home ice), but the back half of the season has been extremely disappointing in front of our home fans."

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