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Savannah Ghost Pirates

Savannah Ghost Pirates

Goalie Duel Tilts The Ghost Pirates’ Way In Shootout Win

Goalie Duel Tilts The Ghost Pirates’ Way In Shootout Win

SAVANNAH, Ga. – The scoring may have been minimal, but the suspense was otherworldly on Friday between the Ghost Pirates and Solarbears as Savannah saw yet another game head past regulation as the Ghost Pirates prevailed in a shootout, winning 2-1. 

Coming off a three-game skid, Savannah needed a win to help breeze them back on course in the South Division standings of the ECHL. That same three-game stretch had Orlando feeling good about themselves as they went 2-1-0, including a shutout game against the division-leading South Carolina Stingrays.

Throughout the first period, Savannah managed to get itself in peak offensive performance; keeping sustained offensive pressure against Orlando and peppering Brad Barone with shots. This was especially visible in the early parts of the first where Savannah was outshooting Orlando 6 to 1, and not allowing any time for Orlando in Savannah’s defensive zone. They ended the period outshooting Orlando 14-8.

Orlando’s power play also fell flat in the first period, only generating one shot on goal. Most of Orlando’s power play time consisted of attempting to cleanly enter the offensive zone before one of Savannah’s penalty killers sent the puck 200 feet in the opposite direction.

Orlando’s best chance in the first came against the Savannah rush, as it was able to sneak out a breakaway which forced goalie Isaiah Saville to come up to the edge of the crease and play hero with an outstanding stick save. It was not the last time Saville played hero that night either; facing his fair share of dangerous opportunities and breakaways throughout his 37-save performance.

“Sometimes you need your goaltender to be your best player, and Isaiah was our best player again.” head coach Rick Bennett said to media after the game.

In the second period, things were trending the same way as the first for each respective team; with Savannah’s offensive pressure stifling Orlando until the 7:37 mark. A wake-up call for Orlando came in a beautiful passing play from Tristin Langan to Shawn Szydlowski directly in front of the net that stretched out Saville; allowing Szydlowski to lift the puck over the netminder to break the scoring for the night.

Savannah responded in power-play tradition. Their positive trend on special teams continued when Daniel D’Amato made a heads-up play hitting a puck with his palm to drop it to the ice. A quick game of volleyball between D’Amato and Patrick Guay led to D’Amato playing it towards the net where a waiting Vincent Marleau festered to tap the puck home and tally up the scoring 1-1.

The remainder of the second featured two goalies, Barone and Saville, standing on their heads as both clubs threw everything they had at each other. This spilled into the third as both teams went scoreless, and Savannah prepped to go back to a period they have become all too familiar with in the overtime frame. This is their sixth overtime period in ten games.

The overtime period offered both clubs the opportunity to close out the game before the shootout. Savannah, which had its fair share of dangerous opportunities, was plagued by stray passes just barely missing their target on their game-ending chances; while Orlando faced a confident Saville who was making breakaways and two-man rushes look easy.

When the seven extra overtime minutes were not enough to decide the match; the shootout frame began. A Guay attempt failed to find the net, while on the opposite side Joe Carroll skated up to a waiting Saville beating him five-hole to give Orlando the shootout lead.

Saville buckled up, put his head down, and kept the remaining attempts from Jaydon Dureau and Szydlowski wide.

 

On the opposite side, Brent Pedersen and D’Amato were able to beat Barone with similar moves, shooting the puck to the right of his pads and into the corner of the net.

So how’s one way that Savannah’s head coach sees that could help finish games in regulation stronger?

“Be a bit better managing the blue line,” he said.

He went on to further clarify that dropping the puck into the offensive zone, followed up by quality forechecking and blue-line presence would achieve that goal.

Both Savannah and Orlando will be looking to quickly move past Friday’s results as Savannah hosts the Jacksonville Icemen Saturday, and Orlando travels up to South Carolina to face the Stingrays once more.

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