JACKSONVILLE, Fla – Sunday evening, the Jacksonville Icemen faced the Orlando Solar Bears in their last regular-season game. Orlando missed a playoff spot, so this was their final game of the season. For Jacksonville, having clinched the No. 2 spot in the first round of the playoffs meant neither team had anything to gain or lose. Jacksonville took a 4-2 victory over Orlando in a highly charged game, setting a new franchise record with 93 points on the season.
The Icemen held their annual end-of-year award ceremony before the puck drop, with the award for Unsung Hero going to Charles Williams, Rookie of the Year going to Tim Theocharidis, Defensemen of the Year going to Jacob Panetta, Fans Choice going to Ara Nazarian, and MVP to Christopher Brown. There was a surprise award for Alex Reed, the Icemen’s broadcaster who had been announcing the award ceremony. This would be his 1000th professional career hockey call, that night.
After a scoreless first period, things began to heat up in the second period. Tyler Bird put Orlando on the board 43 seconds into the second period. Jacksonville’s Derek Lodermeier netted two power-play goals five minutes apart late in the second period. The intensity of play between the two teams elevated, with multiple fights breaking out in the second and third periods. A power-play goal by Orlando’s Shawn Szydlowski evened the score at the 7.10 mark of the third. Ara Nazarian scored the game-winning goal less than four minutes later, and a power-play goal by Ben Tardif sealed the victory for Jacksonville.
Jacksonville, who placed 2nd in the South Division, will face the No 3 team, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, in the first round of the Kelly Cup playoffs. With home ice advantage, game one will occur on Friday, April 2, and game two on Sunday, April 23.
Check out this photo gallery from Field Pass Hockey’s Andrew Fielder for highlights from the game.
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