The team celebrates Brent Tamane's first period goal (Photo : Richard Perigo)
Dan McWhinney made 32 saves (Photo : Richard Perigo)
Matt Smyth led the way on the penalty kill (Photo : Richard Perigo)
Brent Tamane (Photo : Richard Perigo)
Huntsville, AL (WAFF) - The Huntsville Havoc are still climbing their way back up the ladder in the SPHL standings.
The rain, snow and ice kept a good number of fans at home Thursday night. Unfortunately for them, they missed a solid effort from the their home team.
The Havoc's long-time rivals from Knoxville were in town, and Huntsville was clearly fired up early. After dominating the first five minutes of the game, the Havoc drew first blood when newcomer Brent Tamane slid the puck behind Knoxville's Peter Skoggard on a net-crashing power play seven minutes in. "It wasn't a pretty one," said coach Glenn Detulleo after the game. "but that's what we've been preaching - pucks at the net, rebounds, second chances, that's how we scored our first one." The Havoc power play is struggling, dead last in the league in terms of efficiency, only converting about 11.8% of their opportunities into goals. Detulleo says he's working hard to turn that around, and Tamane's goal is a sign that things may be turning around.
About two minutes after Tamane's ugly goal, Chappen Leblond added another tally, putting the Havoc up by two. The second goal seemed to knock the rust off of the Ice Bears, who then started playing much more aggressively. Knoxville tilted the ice in their favor, but Havoc goaltender Dan McWhinney had an answer for everything that was sent his way.
A third period goal from Stuart Steffan put Huntsville up by 3. Knoxville added one of their own, but it was too little, too late. Despite a long stretch of time on the power play, the Ice Bears couldn't get back in the game. "Quinner had a great game, made some huge saves for us, especially late in the game on the penalty kill." Detulleo said in praise of his netminder. "Penalty killers did a great job, I think we killed 7 out of 8, which is huge."
The Havoc turn their focus to the Augusta Riverhawks, who will be at the Von Braun Center Saturday night for WAFF 48 free jersey night (The first 1,500 adult fans get a replica jersey). It's a game that most players are already looking forward to. "We don't like Augusta. We've got a history with Augusta." Detulleo said plainly. "Everytime we play them it's always a great game." While Huntsville sits 8th in the standings, the Riverhawks are right behind in 9th. "It's an opportunity for us to make sure they don't get anywhere near us. Generally, when you don't like a team, it's not too hard to get the guys fired up."