Weekend Preview: Havoc Play Pair against Knoxville, MLK Matinee in Birmingham
HUNTSVILLE - The Huntsville Havoc will play a home and home series against a long-time adversary and then head down I-65 for a Monday afternoon game with their in-state rival on Martin Luther King Day.
The Havoc (16-10-1) played twice in the Von Braun Center last weekend, sweeping a pair of games from the Pensacola Ice Flyers.
Huntsville welcomed the Ice Flyers up from the Gulf Coast for a Friday and Saturday night set of games and sent them back to Florida after a pair of solid wins.
Havoc forward Scott Trask scored a pair of goals for the home team on Friday night, and a Rob Darrar put one past the Ice Flyers netminder on a powerplay to account for Huntsville's scores. Pensacola (7-18-2) spoiled the shutout bid with five minutes remaining, but the Havoc defense shut down the visitors the rest of the way and earned Huntsville a 3-1 win. Ryan Salkeld recorded assists on all three goals as the Havoc outshot the Flyers 30 to 16.
The next night, Pensacola jumped out to an early lead, but could not hold on late. Huntsville scored three goals in the third period to complete a comeback and beat Pensacola 4-2. Darrar scored twice, including the eventual game-winner. Stephen Hrehoriak also recorded a tally and Sy Nutkevitch slipped in an empty-netter to account for the final score. Havoc keeper Mike DeLaVergne stopped 31 of the 33 shots he faced.
The Havoc and Ice Bears, two of the charter members of the SPHL, have gone head-to-head more than any other pair of teams in the league. They have played twice this season, both on Pharmacy First Ice in Huntsville.
On Thanksgiving Night, the Havoc held a comfortable two-goal lead in the third period, but the Ice Bears scored four in the final 15 minutes to beat Huntsville 5-3. Two weeks later, the boys from the Rocket City once again hosted Knoxville on Star Wars Night. The force was strong with the Havoc as rookie goalkeeper Max Milosek made 34 saves en route to his first professional shutout 5-0.
Knoxville holds a one-point advantage over the Havoc in the SPHL standings with a record of 15-9-4.
These teams play four more times this season, two of them this weekend and then a road series in Knoxville in March.
In their inaugural season last year, the Bulls missed the playoffs and were beaten by the Havoc in every head-to-head matchup except one.
This season, the shoe is on the other foot as, in four games thus far, Birmingham have beaten Huntsville three times. The lone victory for the Havoc was on December 15 at the Pelham Civic Complex. Peter Sikalis scored twice, and Birmingham spoiled the shutout bid late in the third to account for the 5-1 score.
The Havoc hope to continue this trend as they will make the short trip to Birmingham for Martin Luther King Day - the second time the teams have played on the day celebrating the civil rights champion. The Bulls hold an 8-point lead over the Havoc with a 20-7-1 record.
Huntsville hosts the Bulls for three more games in March before the playoffs.
By the Numbers...
Salkeld is still averaging a point per game (12g, 15a) over 27 games, a career high in the SPHL.
The team is third in the league in goals allowed (2.7/game) and fourth in goals scored (3.26/game).
Milosek ranks among the top goalies in the league this season, ranking in the top five in wins (8), goals allowed (2.14/game) and save percentage (92.5%).
The Havoc start next weekend on the road for a home-and-home series against the Knoxville Ice Bears. The puck drops at the Civic Coliseum in Knoxville on Friday, January 18, at 6:30 p.m. CDT. Fans can catch the game on 97.7 The Zone or on SPHL Live. The boys from the Rocket City return to the friendly confines of the Von Braun Center the next night, Saturday, January 19, to face the Ice Bears on Adult Jersey Night. The first 2,200 fans receive a free replica jersey. Puck drop is 7 p.m. on Pharmacy First Ice.
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Southern Professional Hockey League Stories from January 17, 2019
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- Kalisz, Phaneuf, Return to Rivermen from ECHL Loans - Peoria Rivermen
- Weekend Preview: Havoc Play Pair against Knoxville, MLK Matinee in Birmingham - Huntsville Havoc
- Doug Price Appointed Commissioner of the Southern Professional Hockey League - SPHL
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