PENSACOLA, FLA – Like Chris Davis’s epic missed field goal return against the Alabama Crimson Tide, sometimes just having one of those days is a good thing.
The Pensacola Ice Flyers dominated the Mississippi Surge at home Tuesday night 4 -1 in a shootout that produced some of the most spectacular plays of the season. Apollo Ohno couldn’t have matched the speed of John Dunbar and Ryan Salvis while Brett Lutes and Podge Turnbull threaded the Surge defense with what looked like martial arts on skates.
In the end however it was Johnny Griggs who went home with the “S” on his chest.
Griggs allowed only one goal in 35 attempts behind a brilliantly played Ice Flyer defense. Most of Mississippi’s shots were taken through four or more defenders; their one goal coming at the 12:02 mark of the first on a power play. There was such a crush of bodies at the net that it took some work to credit Nick Kuqali with the tally.
“The team did a great job in front of me helping clear rebounds and loose pucks”, Griggs said. “I had a lot of help with them keeping the puck away from the middle and forcing the perimeter shots to the outside.”
Modestly spoken, it still doesn’t account for the moments like Griggs’ catch near the end of the second, where he gloved an airborne puck with his body twisted upside down on the ice.
Griggs’ effort aside, the game’s outcome wasn’t entirely about defense.
Dunbar raced by several defenders to deliver to Lutes who slapped in goal number one of the night at the 6:27 of the first period. A few minutes later Mike MacIntyre scored on a bedazzling 40 foot pass from Dunbar during an Ice Flyers man advantage. After a scoreless second period, Salvis wrestled the puck in at 6:04 of the third off an assist by Turnbull and a once again relentless Dunbar.
The cherry topping of the game came at 16:01 when Turnbull threaded three defenders off assists by Salvis and Justin Alonzo, taking the puck to the net and burying it five hole with the Pensacola crowd on its feet.
“We played a really solid game”, Griggs said. “The guys battled hard all night and we played a full 60 minutes. It was a great team win for us.”
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