The Jacksonville Icemen took to the road this week to face the Greenville Swamp Rabbits for games three, four, and five of round one of this year’s Kelly Cup Playoffs. The Icemen entered Greenville with the series tied one game aside after splitting Friday and Sunday’s games with the Swamp Rabbits. Greenville defenseman Tyler Inamoto was out for game three, serving a one-game suspension after a high-sticking incident in game two.
Game three was an all-hands-on-deck effort for the Icemen, who took a one-game lead in the series with a 7-4 win Tuesday night. Tuesday’s game saw nine different Icemen hit the scoresheet, with four players making it a multi-point occasion in game three. Goals would come from forwards Derek Lodermeier, Matheson Iacopelli, Craig Martin, Cristiano DiGiacinto, and Luke Lynch. Lodermeier registered three of the Icemen’s seven goals, making him the first player in Icemen’s history to score a hat-trick in the playoffs. Captain Christopher Brown had great success dishing the puck out to create offensive chances, recording four assists on the night. After struggling to have special teams’ success in games one and two, the Icemen powerplay found the net on three of their eight chances. Goalie Charles Williams ended the night making 30 stops on 34 shots.
The puck dropped Friday evening for game four of the first-round series. Friday’s game burdened the Icemen with their second loss of the series, tying things up at 2-2. Matheson Iacopelli was the only Icemen to tack a goal on the board, scoring at 13:43 of the first period. Tim Theocharidis and Cristiano DiGiacinto would join Iacopelli on the scoresheet as they collected the assists on the lone goal. The powerplay struggles would return, seeing the Icemen go zero for three on the man advantage. Icemen goaltender Charles Williams got the nod for game four, making 29 saves on 32 shots.
The Story So Far:
The Icemen split the first two games of the series at home and the first two games of the three-game road trip. Game five, the last game remaining in Greenville, will be a pivotal match-up for the team. Tuesday’s game was one in which the Icemen could get big contributions from the offense and drive the game, finding ways to get goals in bunches when it mattered. Friday’s loss further highlights areas in which the Icemen have struggled. Although a more disciplined game from both teams, the Icemen will need to find a way to get the special teams units putting more pucks on net. As we’ve seen previously in this series, with minor adjustments, the Icemen can find ways to make things happen. Jacksonville will need to make those adjustments in a hurry and bounce back from the game four loss in order to carry momentum back home for a now necessary game six on May 2nd.
Let them Cook – Players to Watch:
Defenseman Tim Theocharidis has been the stand-out player on the blueline this series. With three assists coming in game three and an assist on Iacopelli’s game four-goal, Theocharidis is now up to four points in round one. Leading the Icemen’s defense core in points, keep an eye on him to create space for the offense to work.
Captain Christopher Brown continues his monster of a season, already possessing five points through four games this postseason. The forward has contributed five assists to Icemen goals, making him the player to watch when the offense gets going.
Forward Craig Martin is the player who’s made equal contributions to both goals and assists thus far in round one. With a pair of goals and a pair of assists, Martin has found ways to generate scoring chances and keep things favorable in the offensive zone. Look for him to continue the trend for the rest of the series.