ECHL: Ghostbusters – Icemen Defeat Ghost Pirates 5-2

It was a good Wednesday night for some hockey in the River City. The 3-2-1 Jacksonville Icemen took on the 2-4 Savannah Ghost Pirates. Although arguably too soon into the season to consider standings, the out-of-state divisional opponents currently sit three places behind the Icemen in the South Division. Jacksonville is currently fourth in the division, five points back from the first-place Atlanta Gladiators, while Savannah sits in the division’s seventh and last place with just four points on the season so far. It was a week-night bout featuring big-time slapshots and a bit of boxing, as four different Icemen skaters had a two-point night in the team’s Wednesday night win over the Savannah Ghost Pirates.

The Rundown:

The Icemen got off to a hot start in the first period, when Brendan Harris scored his third goal of the season just over two minutes into the game. Harris’s goal came with help from defensemen Julian Kislin and Garrett Cockerill. Jacksonville showed good ability to keep the Ghost Pirates at bay in the first period, battling hard along the boards and winning key puck battles. Savannah was able to open up the neutral zone and move the puck into the Icemen’s defensive end with relative ease, though the Icemen showed good composure to shut down scoring opportunities. At 9:29 into the beginning frame, Icemen forward Nick Isaacson would pick up his first goal of the year, nudging the Icemen lead to 2-0. Isaacson’s goal was assisted by blueliner Jacob Panetta and forward Matheson Iacopelli. New netminder Michael Houser stopped all four shots sent his way in the opening frame. His efforts on a beautiful diving poke check save at the end of the period stopped a Savannah scoring chance cold.

Jacksonville Forward #16 Derek Lodermeier. Credit: Andrew Willis/ITR

The first period didn’t see either team take a penalty, but that would change as tempers began to heat up in the middle frame of action. A powerplay goal off the tip of Derek Lodermeier’s stick added to the Icemen’s lead just three minutes into the period. The 3–0 goal came with help from forward Matheson Iacopelli and, recent return to the Icemen line-up, defenseman Brandon Forunato. The goal on the early powerplay is Derek Lodermeier’s first goal of the season. Like the first 20 minutes of action, the Icemen were effective at stopping the Ghost Pirates from generating much offense. Although they kept Savannah’s chances to a minimum, the Ghost Pirates still found a way to make use of the space they were offered at their end, tacking on a goal 10:46 into the period. Savannah’s 3-1 tally came off the stick of Vincent Marleau, who had help from forward Brent Pedersen and defenseman Joe Fleming. Jacksonville’s ability to play a tight-knit game resulted in some frustration from the opposition. Icemen forward Michael Turner and Ghost Pirates forward Anthony Collins both earned five minutes each for fighting after engaging in some good ol’ fashion fisticuffs with 2:42 remaining.

Logan Cockerill, the rookie from Boston University, bagged his first goal of the season with a powerplay blast from the hash marks 15 minutes into the third. The Icemen shifted gears in the last frame of hockey, spending more time defending their zone.  As a result, the Ghost Pirates out-shot the Icemen 16-7 in the third period. One of those chances would find a way through, giving the Ghost Pirates the 4-2 marker, but the team would ultimately fall short. Opting to skate 6-on-5 for over the final two minutes of play, Savannah yielded the empty net goal to Icemen defenseman Jacob Panetta. Panetta’s empty netter is his first goal of the season and was unassisted. Panetta picked up two points on the evening, also assisting on a first-period goal.

Next Man Up:

The Jacksonville Icemen and Savannah Ghost Pirates get Wednesday night’s game going with the opening face-off. Credit: Andrew Willis/ITR

Losing three of your top five scorers in one week is a rough go – for any team. Having a roster full of guys able to take the ‘next man up’ mentality and see it through is what separates good teams from the others. The Icemen took advantage of a Savannah team that looked bogged down, and the guys that needed to step up answered the call. Lodermeier scoring on the powerplay is an excellent thing to see, as is seeing the rookie Logan Cockerill get his first much-deserved goal. He’s been a lot of fun to watch on the ice so far this year, as his slick skating abilities have opened up numerous scoring chances for the Icemen offense. Brendan Harris continues to be an offensive workhorse for the team, and he’ll be expected to take on a bigger scoring role now. His consistency is a big part of Jacksonville’s offensive success, as are the contributions from guys up and down the lineup. The team needed a win after two tough losses on the road, and it’s a good sign that the Icemen continue to be a team that can adapt and compete despite the setbacks.

Newly reassigned goaltender Michael Houser got the start in net tonight for the Icemen. Houser looked solid in the Icemen crease, only allowing two goals on 27 shots. The netminder picked up his first win in an Icemen sweater in his first start with the team and finished the night with a .925 save percentage.

The Jacksonville Icemen move to 4-2-1 on the season and take on the Atlanta Gladiators at home on Saturday, November 11th.

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis is a freelance hockey reporter covering the ECHL's Jacksonville Icemen for Inside The Rink and the Vancouver Canucks for The Canuck Way. His work has been featured on Hockey of Tomorrow and The Daily Faceoff, and can be found on Twitter/X @FromTheDrewLine.

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