PENSACOLA, FL. -On April 6, the Pensacola Ice Flyers punched their ticket to the SPHL Finals with a 2-1 victory in the deciding game three of their semi-final series with the Knoxville Ice Bears.
The Ice Flyers took care of business in the first period by outshooting, out hitting, and out hustling the Ice Bears. Pensacola gained the 1-0 lead 3:15 into the first period when John Dunbar scored on a power play. Ryan Salvis and Jeremy Gates had the assists. The Ice Flyers pushed the lead to 2-0 with 8:30 remaining in the frame when Paul Rodrigues tipped in a long shot from the left wing boards by Shaun Arvai. Keegan Flaherty had the other helper on Rodrigues’ first goal of the playoffs.
The second frame was scoreless with both teams having their chances. Pensacola outshot the Ice Bears again but Knoxville managed to close the gap to just 10-6 this time. Knoxville mounted a comeback in the third period, outshooting Pensacola 13-9, and it paid off when Francis Drolet scored with 7:45 left in the third period. Pensacola managed to hold off all of the Ice Bears’ attempts to tie the game.
Ross MacKinnon made 24 saves on Knoxville’s 25 shots and was named the number one star for the game for the second night in a row. Dunbar was named the third star while Rodrigues was second.
With the win, the Ice Flyers advance to the 2014 SPHL President’s Cup Finals against the Columbus Cottonmouths. Game one will be this Thursday, Apr. 10 in the Pensacola Bay Center at 7:05 p.m. with game two in Columbus on Saturday, Apr. 12 at 6:30 p.m. Central Time. If necessary, game three will be back in Pensacola on Sunday, Apr. 13 at 6:05 p.m.
Text provided by Pensacola Ice Flyers media release