JACKSONVILLE, FL - Riley Fiddler-Schultz scored the lone goal in the overtime shootout, while Matt Vernon stopped 23 of 25 shots to lead the Jacksonville Icemen to a 3-2 shootout win over the Savannah Ghost Pirates in the preseason opener at the Community First Igloo Friday evening.
After two scoreless, but physical first two periods, the Icemen struck first early in the third period when Garrett Van Wyhe centered a pass in front of the net. The puck sailed in the air to rookie Carson MacKinnon who redirected the puck past Savannah goaltender Jordan Papirny for the first goal of the game.
Three minutes later, the Icemen built a 2-0 lead on a rebound tally by Logan Cockerill. Cockerill picked up a loose puck in the slot and snapped a shot high into the net for the tally.
However, just over a minute later, the Ghost Pirates countered on a goal by Joel Vidmar who shoved in a rebound himself from the right side of the crease.
The Ghost Pirates evened the score at 2-2 at 13:42 of the third period on a tally from former Icemen Matt Ustaski. As the period progressed, both goaltenders were tested and were able to keep the score knotted at two to eventually force overtime.
The Icemen dominated the time of possession in the extra session, but Papirny continued to turn aside everything thrown his direction. The game would be decided in the shootout, and Riley Fiddler-Schultz scored the lone goal on a forehand-backhand move that was lifted high into the net for the tally. Matt Vernon stopped all three shots faced to secure the 3-2 shootout win for the Icemen in the preseason opener.
The two teams meet again on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. at the Community First Igloo. The Icemen open the season at home on October 21 against the Florida Everblades.