THE FINAL HAUNT OF 2022-23: The Ghost Pirates played the Orlando Solar Bears Saturday night, the 15th, at home for their last game of the season at EnMarket Arena. Orlando scored the only goal of the first period and scored the first of the second on a penalty kill, giving them their biggest lead of the night. Nolan Valleau scored approximately a minute after Orlando’s second goal with a wide shot assisted by Estes and Armour. Soon after, Estes tied the game with 7:57 remaining. Brent Pederson scored as Savannah was on a five-on-three power play, scoring on a rebound off of a shot from Daniel D’Amato. That was his 27th goal and 11th power-play goal, and it got the Ghost Pirates their first lead of the night. Orlando answered with an empty net goal as Papirny got back in the net during a play. D’Amato got his 15th goal of the season as he raised the score by one with a far-out shot. As the Solar Bears snuck a shot past Papirny, it was in the crease but not over the line. Troy Lajeunesse saved it by sweeping it out.
Marleau and Naas got empty net goals about a minute apart in the third period, as Orlando pulled their goalie as a last-minute resort. Vincent scored his 18:49 into the previous period with a setup from Ross Armour, making him the third player on the team to net 20 goals. Naas got his off a backhand from a distance, and Pederson and Skeoch assisted him. The final score favored Savannah 6-3, with SOG 36-16.
Darian Skeoch and Daniel D’Amato were the only two to get penalized for Savannah, both having to serve two minutes each. Skeoch went in for roughing, taking a Solar Bear to the box with him, while D’Amato was in for tripping. Orlando was zero for one on their power plays, and Savannah was one for three. D’Amato led in shots on goal with six, Marleau and Naas followed with four, and Drevitch, Armour, Swetlikoff, and Pederson had three. Papirny saved 13 out of 16 shots he faced. Savannah scored six out of 36 shots. Savannah was down at the end of the first 1-0; they scored four times in the second and scored two empty net goals in the third period.
Fan Appreciation Night:
With Spring Break bringing many travelers and other significant events in the Lowcountry, the game was delayed due to traffic issues affecting the Solar Bears’ arrival time. The game was scheduled to begin at 7:00, but the time was moved back due to unforeseen issues on I-95. During the delay awaiting the opposing team, the Savannah Ghost Pirates media team kept the fans occupied with various entertainment interactions to celebrate Fan Appreciation Night. They did a few karaoke songs and showed a few behind-the-scenes clips with the media team. Throughout the game, there were several videos of different players thanking the fans and speaking about other memorable moments from this season. Even Isaiah Saville sent in a video reflecting on his time with the team and shouting out the incredible fans from Henderson. In addition, there were several giveaways, and the players held a post-game signing with all of the players for all of the fans in attendance at the final game.
Closing out the Season: This season, the Ghost Pirates have gone on many voyages, plundering and haunting the arenas of their opponents. They scored 207 goals this season and finished with 66 total points as a team. While they’ve endured, many complications regarding their roster with injuries and Henderson player recalls, they’ve kept their dynamic as a team for the most part. Pat Guay led the SGP in points with 52 from his time in the Lowcountry, despite him spending a lot of this season with the HSK, including the final games. The other four-point leaders include Alex Swetlikoff – 49, Brent Pederson – 47, Daniel D’Amato – 43, and Tristan Thompson – 42. Guay also led the team in assists with 36. Behind him was Tristan Thompson at 34, Alex Swetlikoff at 29, Daniel D’Amato at 28, and Logan Drevitch who had 24.
The players who contributed the most to the team’s 207 goals were Brent Pederson (47), Alex Swetlikoff (20), Vincent Marleau (20), Pat Guay (16), and Daniel D’Amato (15).
Interestingly enough, the three top goal-scorers for Savannah were also the only three to reach 20 personal goals AND the only three to score hat tricks this season, while a few came very close. Regarding the netminders of the SGP, Isaiah Saville had the highest save percentage as he had one of 0.92. Jordan Papirny and Michael Bullion were next, both with 0.89.
These players will have time over the Summer to improve their skills as much as possible to prepare them for whatever is in store for the 2023-24 season. I have loved watching these incredible players develop and grow together this season, and I look forward to what the next season will bring for them and the team.