Kaiser OT Winner Puts Havoc Through to the SPHL Finals
KNOXVILLE - Except for the location, game two in the SPHL semifinal match-up between the Havoc and Ice Bears was like game one - including the result.
Huntsville got out to the early lead, both teams had the same number of penalties, and they even needed overtime to decide the winner, but just like in game one, the Havoc came out on top 3-2 Saturday night to sweep the semifinals from Knoxville and punch their ticket for a return trip to the SPHL championship series.
"It was another tight and hard-fought series," said Havoc Head Coach Glenn Detulleo. "Momentum swung both ways in this one, but it was nice to get the win so we can get some rest to prepare for the finals. We'll enjoy tonight, but there is more work ahead for us."
Knoxville had the strongest penalty kill percentage in the league at the end of the regular season at 91 percent, which only made Huntsville more determined as the Havoc scored two powerplay goals in regulation Saturday night.
The first one came midway through the first period when Connor Schmidt took a slapshot from the left point that Kyle Sharkey redirected past the Knoxville keeper to take the early lead.
Huntsville kept the pressure on when Christian Powers scored on a wrister from the slot over the goalie's shoulder at 7:14 in to the second period. Knoxville would take momentum back just 30 seconds later when they finally got one past Huntsville's Max Milosek. The boys from the Rocket City held a 2-1 lead at the second intermission.
Through two periods, Knoxville outshot Huntsville 16 to 12. The Ice Bears turned up the pressure in the third, taking 16 shots to just 6 for the Havoc. Three minutes in to the period, Knoxville scored on a powerplay of their own to tie the game. Both sides locked down their defensive efforts and regulation ended with the same 2-2 score as game one on Thursday night at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville.
The Havoc put 14 shots on goal in the overtime period, but it was the last one that mattered as Nolan Kaiser smashed a shot from the right point that found the back of the net, sending the Havoc back to the President's Cup finals.
The team did not have to wait long to find out who they will be playing in the championship round. It will be an all-Alabama final as the Birmingham Bulls also won Saturday night, taking their semifinal series against the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs two games to one.
"It feels great to advance to the finals," said Detulleo. "We'll spend the next few days putting together a game plan and get ourselves ready to defend the cup."
SPHL Championship Series
The series between the Bulls and Havoc begins Friday, April 26, at the Pelham Civic Complex. The puck drops for game one at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased through the Bulls front office by calling 205-620-6870. If you can't make the short trip down I-65 to Birmingham, the game will be broadcast on 97.7 The Zone.
Game two is the following night, Saturday, April 27, back in Huntsville on Pharmacy First Ice at 7:35 p.m. Tickets go on sale Monday morning on ticketmaster.com or in the Havoc office.
If necessary, game three will be back in Pelham on Monday, April 29, at 7:30 p.m.
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Southern Professional Hockey League Stories from April 21, 2019
- Ice Bears Season Ends in Overtime - Knoxville Ice Bears
- Kaiser OT Winner Puts Havoc Through to the SPHL Finals - Huntsville Havoc
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