The FIHL had it’s first split night weekend as the Aces and Minute Men took the ice Saturday night followed by the Sand Sharks and Sting Rays on Sunday night.
On Saturday the Aces and Minute Men played in a fast moving high tempo battle that saw the game winner scored in the final minutes of play. Minute Men Head coach Chris Frontiero had been smack talking all week after the Aces lack luster performance last week against the Sand Sharks. It did not age well as the Aces Maddox Fox would score two goals including the game winner with 1:25 left in the game. The Minute Men scored first in the first on a goal by George Brkljacic on a nice feed off the stick of Vlad Handjiev, and then again with Just :22 seconds left in the stanza. Tyler Cook entered the zone and pulled up at the top of the circle, looked at the options and decided to rip it himself past Costello for the tally. The Minute Men make critical mistakes in the final :22 seconds of the first period however and allow a quick shot off the wall by Gavin Frost to catch a napping Thompson, slip past the goal line as time expired for a 2-1 score at the end of one. In the second the two teams traded power play goals as Nate Salazar would tie the game while Planet Scott Mezack was in the box for elbowing. Just two minute later, Alex Noti would finish off a dominant power play by the minute men with his fifteenth goal of the season, he is the Mens top forward in goals so far this season. We enter the third period with the Minute Men up 3-2, but that didn’t last long as the Aces score two goals in the first 3.5 minutes of the period to take a 4-3 lead. Goals by Josiah Martinez and Maddox Fox catch the Minute Men unfocused on basic fundamental hockey and lead reversed. It would remain that way until Max Mondo on a great individual effort would score his ninth goal of the season tying the game at four. The Aces strike back in just seventeen seconds to regain that lead as Maddox Fox does it again, scoring his fifth goal of the season to nail the game winner. Gavin Frost added another goal thirty seconds later and with that insurance goal, the Men were sent home packing. Notably quiet on the night was Minute Men leading scorer Wyatt Frontiero who was frustrated by Aces netminders most of the night.
On Sunday the Sand Sharks and the Stings Rays provided the entertainment, but the Sting Rays forgot to show up in the first period and gave up five goals to spot the Sharks a fin! Two goals by Beaudy Beaudin, on his way to a hat trick, Borek, Gillum and Tanner gave the Sharks all they would need for the night, even though they would lose the rest of the game to the Rays. The Rays have had the Sharks number as of late being the only team in the FIHL with wins against the Sharks. In the second period the Rays would go on to mount the comeback, squeaking out a 3-2 advantage but would go down 6-0 first on a goal by Brayden Curry. Alex Myers got the first Rays score, followed by yet another Sharks goal as Beaudin completed his hatty to make it 7-1. Two quicks strikes late in the second period by Poweska and Odell made it 7-3 but the Sharks would get a last minute goal with :34 left by Nolan Borek and its 8-3. Not to be out done, Odell scores his second of the game with only thirteen seconds left in the period to get it back to a four goal deficit. In the third, The Sharks open it up again with another Borek goal for his own hat trick on the night followed by a Jordan Chapman goal and it is 10-4 good buddy. The Sting Rays never seem to go away though and they get two back as they get goals from Poweska and Odell, marking another hat trick for Odell, and his team leading twenty eighth goal of the season. Now 10-6, the teams trade goals as Hunter Gillum and Erik LaFlamme would each tally scores and your final score is 11-7, Sand Sharks thanks to a five goal first period. Rays net minder Jason Cribbs, who had just signed a full time contract with the Rays that day, faced an FIHL record 72 shots on the night.
Next week we will have the Men vs Sharks at 7pm and the Aces and Rays at 930pm.