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Gianfrancesco Leads Seals Past Fayetteville

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - The last time the Florida Seals and Fayetteville FireAntz met on the ice, it was winner take all in the deciding game of a playoff series.

Friday night at the Silver Spurs Arena, the home standing Seals got two goals from Phil Gianfrancesco as they hung on to defeat Fayetteville 5-3 for their third consecutive victory.

"I'm starting to get my confidence back. The guys are making me feel really at home," Gianfrancesco said. "Tommy's (Seals Coach Stewart) really given me confidence as well playing me with two great guys in (Chad) Haacke and (Ryan) Coghlan. They're a great aspect of this team here and they're helping me make myself a better player."

Coming off a big effort on Tuesday against Jacksonville, Florida seemed to be back on their heels in the first period. Thanks in part to three consecutive Seals penalties, the FireAntz held a sizeable shot advantage but Florida goalie Matt Balser held the fort, making 22 saves. On the other end, FireAntz goalie Garrett Kindred, thrust into the starting role after Chad Collins was called up to the ECHL, handled all eight shots he faced.

"We should have put the game away in the first period," Fayetteville Coach John Marks said. "We had plenty of scoring chances. I thought Balser played very well."

The Seals finally got on the board in the second as Coghlan fed Gianfrancesco in the slot. Gianfrancesco's wrist shot beat Kindred for the 1-0 Florida lead. They held the margin until the final four minutes of the stanza when Tim Velemirovich jammed the puck past Balser. Balser kept the score tied when in the final minute he robbed Josh Piro with a diving save.

Things got wild in the third. The Seals went back in front on a power play goal by Scott Corbett 1:01 into the period. A little over a minute later, Gianfrancesco picked up his second of the night when Haacke found him again in the slot for a wicked wrister.

Fayetteville wouldn't go away. Nick Kormanyos beat Balser at the 3:38 mark to close the gap to 3-2. Florida got that one back at 4:27 when Tim Vitek followed his own shot and muscled the rebound home for yet another man advantage score. The Seals opened the lead to three goals at 12:23 when Lawne Snyder (three assists on the night) sent Justin Keller away on a break down the wing. Keller got into the face-off circle and blasted a slap shot through Kindred to make it 5-2. BJ Stephens scored a power play goal for Fayetteville in the final minute for the final score of the game. For the game, Balser made 44 saves while Kindred stopped 36 at the other end.

"Fayetteville is a good hockey club. It was 1-1 going into the third and holy smokes we score four and they score two to make it interesting," Seals Coach Stewart said. "The guys are battling. The guys have got the edge back. The Knoxville win was huge. We're riding high. We're playing great and we're getting great goaltending and everybody's playing well."

The two teams will meet again on Saturday night at the Silver Spurs Arena. It is "Toys For Tots" night. All fans are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the Marine's annual campaign. Game time is 7:35 p.m.
 

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Carmichael shuts out Ice Bears

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Matt Carmichael made 40 saves as the Huntsville Havoc shut out the Knoxville Ice Bears 2-0 Friday night.

The game was scoreless through two periods before Kelly Miller scored with 6:59 left. Mike O'Sullivan scored less than a minute later giving the Havoc a 2-0 lead.

Knoxville out shot the Havoc 40-37 and both teams went scoreless on the power play, Huntsville on nine chances, Knoxville with seven. A total of 28 penalties were called for 96 minutes.

Ervins Mustukovs took the loss for the Ice Bears. He stopped 35 shots.

The Havoc, now winners of six straight, will travel to Columbus tomorrow night to take on the Cottonmouths.
 

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School of Hard 'Knox' for Ice Bears in Pee Dee, 1-4

Pee Dee came out tonight with one thing in mind tonight, a win at home. The Cyclones got what they wished for.

Pee Dee's Allan Sirois got on the boards first with a goal coming at the 4:49 mark of the first. The Cyclones' Dan Hickman decided it was his turn at the 16:45 mark. Knoxville answered with a goal of their own from David Segal before the first period was out. Going into the first intermission, Pee Dee was up 2-1.

The second period was owned by Pee Dee. Cyclones' goalie Guy St. Vincent shut the door on Knoxville, not allowing a single shot to get past him. Brian Boike and Chris Crombie both lit the lamp to put the Cyclones up 4-1.

The lamp remained off for the entire third period, enabling Pee Dee to come up with the 1-4 win.

Cyclones' with assists on the night were: Edan Welch (2), Jason Slusher, Chris Rebernik, Eric Frank, Ryan Petz, Art Mnatsakanov, and Allan Sirois.

Stars of the game: 1st: Guy St Vincent (28 saves) 2nd: Allan Sirois (2 points) 3rd: Brian Boike (1 goal)
 

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FireAntz Earn Split Of Weekend Series

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Friday night, the third period between the Florida Seals and the Fayetteville FireAntz was a score fest. Saturday the fun started earlier

Adam Meyer's power play goal with a little less than nine minutes left and an empty net goal by David Mullins proved to be the difference as the FireAntz ended the Seals' three game winning streak by a final of 6-5 at the Silver Spurs Arena. The outcome spoiled a two goal performance by Florida's Chad Haacke.

"We showed some character tonight coming back from 3-1 down," Fayetteville coach John Marks said. "Obviously we needed to win, there's no question about that. We found a way and that's what counts."

Florida didn't want to repeat the slow first period start from the night before. They came out of the gates much better and it paid dividends. Midway through the period, Ryan Coghlan ripped at shot that Fayetteville goalie Garrett Kindred stopped. Haacke was left alone in front and pounced on the rebound for the goal and the lead.

The second period was wild and crazy. It started with Tim Vitek picking up a loose puck in the FireAntz zone, faking Kindred to one side and firing high to the other for a shorthanded goal. Just under three minutes later, Fayetteville got on the board when Nick Kormanyos dug the puck out of a scramble and beat Balser. Florida answered back 28 seconds later when Haacke notched his second off the rebound of yet another Coghlan blast.

The visitors kept fighting and responded with two unanswered scores, one by Josh Piro on a breakaway out of the penalty box and the other by Tim Velemirovich on a power play to tie the score at 3-3. The Seals came right back and went in front again when Lawne Snyder sent Rob Sich in alone. Sich picked the top corner on Kindred to put Florida up 4-3. The lead lasted all of 1:50 as Jarrett Robertson cashed in the rebound of a Pekka Saittakari shot to send the game to the final period tied at 4-4.

The question at the start of the final period was which team would blink first. It would be the Seals as they took a hooking penalty at 7:09 and Fayetteville made them pay. During a flurry on the ensuing power play, Balser made two or three saves but the puck came to Meyer in the slot. He picked the top stick side corner on Balser and lit the lamp at 8:47 for the visitors' first lead of the game. Fayetteville extended the lead to two with just over a minute when Mullins capitalized on a Seals' mistake for an empty net goal. It proved to be important as Coghlan scored with just 1.6 seconds remaining to bring Florida back within one but it wasn't enough to change the final outcome.

"We dominated the first period. We had a 3-1 lead in the second. Two mistakes cost us two goals and that's the difference in the hockey game," Florida coach Tommy Stewart said. "You score five goals at home and you should win. I'm looking at a big picture right now. The guys are playing well and there are going to be nights like this."

The Seals have a busy week ahead. It starts with a game Tuesday night at Jacksonville followed by home games on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Silver Spurs Arena.
 

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Week Eight in Review

The Huntsville Havoc took four points over the weekend and stretched their lead in the SPHL standings to six points. The Havoc defended home ice with a 6-4 win over Knoxville on Thursday and a 2-0 shutout of Knoxville Friday before falling 5-3 in the road to Columbus Saturday.

Thursday, December 14 - Knoxville 4, Huntsville 6

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - James Patterson scored with :39 left and Dan Buccella recorded a hat-trick as the Huntsville Havoc won a thriller over the Knoxville Ice Bears 6-4 Thursday night.

Chris Kovalcik got Knoxville on the board just 3:10 into the game. Buccella responded with his first goal just over a minute later and the game was even a 1-1.

Nathan Daly scored a powerplay goal with 7:33 left in the first giving Knoxville a 2-1 lead at the end of the first period.

Tristan Senior evened the game at 2-2 when he scored on the Havoc powerplay with 13:09 left in the second. Buccella gave the Havoc the 3-2 lead with 11:08 left.

Knoxville tied the game at 3-3 when Bob Rangus scored with 2:17 left in the second.

Buccella recorded his third goal four minutes into the second. Kevin Swider evened the game at 4-4 with 1:27 left on the powerplay setting up the game-winner by Patterson. Kelly Miller added an empty net goal with :09 left to seal the win.

Matt Carmichael made 36 saves in the win, while Terry Dunbar made 29 in the loss.

Friday, December 15 - Knoxville 0, Huntsville 2

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Matt Carmichael made 40 saves as the Huntsville Havoc shut out the Knoxville Ice Bears 2-0 Friday night.

The game was scoreless through two periods before Kelly Miller scored with 6:59 left. Mike O'Sullivan scored less than a minute later giving the Havoc a 2-0 lead.

Knoxville out shot the Havoc 40-37 and both teams went scoreless on the power play, Huntsville on nine chances, Knoxville with seven. A total of 28 penalties were called for 96 minutes.

Ervins Mustukovs took the loss for the Ice Bears. He stopped 35 shots.

Saturday, December 16 - Huntsville 3, Columbus 5

COLUMBUS, Ga. - Former Havoc defenseman Steve Howard scored two goals and the Columbus Cottonmouths ended the Huntsville Havoc's six-game winning streak with a 5-3 win Saturday night.

Trevor Karasiewicz, Mike O'Sullivan and James Patterson scored for the Havoc. Nick Niedert took the loss stopping 38 shots.

The game only had 34 penalty minutes on 14 whistles. Huntsville was 0-6 on the powerplay while Columbus was 0-5.

The Cottonmouths scored two short-handed goals including an empty net goal at the end of the game. The Havoc also scored one empty net goal. The Havoc remain sixz point ahead of Richmond for first place in the SPHL.

Three Stars of the Week

#1 - Dan Buccella, C - 3 goals, 1 assist

#2 - Matt Carmichael, G - 2-0, 76 saves, 4 goals allowed, 1 shutout

#3 - Mike O'Sullivan, RW - 2 goals, 2 assists

Games this Week

Friday, December 22 - Columbus Cottonmouths - 7:30

Saturday, December 23 - Jacksonville Barracudas - 7:30

Promotions this Week

Friday, December 22 - "Trading Card Night" - The fourth set of Havoc trading cards featuring Martin Kubaliak, Justin Schmit and Luke phillips will be given away to the first 2,00 fans courtesy of Firehouse Subs, Colonial Graphics Group, WAAY-TV and Rocket 95.1

Apperances this Week

Monday, December 18, 10:00 am - All players will be visiting the Women & Children's Hospital at Huntsville Hospital.

Monday, December 18 and Wednesday, December 20 2-4 pm - Havoc players will be wrapping gifts at the HelpLine Gift Wrap station at Parkway Place Mall.
 

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Renegades Lose Cross to Injury

The Richmond Renegades today announced that they have placed forward Brett Cross on the 30 day Injured Reserve list. Cross has appeared in 18 games for the Renegades and is tied with JJ Wrobel for the team lead in goals with 11. He has 4 assists to go along with his 11 goals and is a +4. He has accumulated 84 PIM's this season.

"Brett tore the ligament in his thumb during the game in Jacksonville this past weekend," stated Allan B. Harvie, Jr., Renegades President and GM. "He was fitted for a cast today at West End Orthopaedic Clinic and will need to wear it for a minimum of 30 days after which time he will be evaluated."

"Brett is a solid forward and he will be missed. He plays tough and his absence will certainly be noticeable," continued Harvie. "The injury bug just won't leave us alone but we can't use that as an excuse. This will give us an opportunity to see who really wants to play a major role with this club."

Cross now joins goalie Doug Groenestege on the 30 day I.R. Groenestege was placed on the I.R. almost three weeks ago when he dislocated his shoulder in the last two minutes of a game in Florence, SC against Pee Dee. He is expected to begin skating this week without pads.

The Renegades continue their road trip this weekend with a game in Kissimmee, FL against the Florida Seals on Friday and then in Fayetteville, NC on Saturday night against the FireAntz. The Renegades return to home ice on Wednesday, December 27th for the first of three home games in 4 nights. It will be another 2-3-4 or More Night plus the first Skate with the Renegades following the game.
 

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Cottonmouths to visit children at The Medical Center

COLUMBUS, Ga. - The Columbus Cottonmouths are making a visit to The Medical Center today at 1 pm, where they will be visiting with the Children's Miracle Network patients at the hospital. Each one of the Snakes will visit the hospital and bring with them toys for the children that are spending the holiday season at The Medical Center with Children's Miracle Network. In addition to the children's toys, the Columbus Cottonmouths give items that are on the wish list for the Children's Miracle Network floor.

"We like to visit the hospital each year in order to share a little happiness to the children that are there. It is important that we do this. This is good for the children, for the hospital and for the players," stated Head Coach and General Manager Jerome Bechard.
 

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Seals, Council On Aging Take Teddys Global

CELEBRATION, Fla. - The Florida Seals professional hockey team, in conjunction with the Osceola County Council On Aging, today announced plans for their benefit "Teddy Bear Toss" on Saturday, December 23rd when the Pee Dee Cyclones come to the Silver Spurs Arena.

This year, through the Seals' partnership with the COA, all stuffed animals brought to the game and thrown to the ice when the Seals score will go to the "Teddies For Tragedies" program which works with children's hospitals, homes and orphanages all over the world.

"We're always happy to be involved in anything that concerns the community and helping out our designated charity, the Osceola Council On Aging," Seals Director of Marketing and Ticket Operations Rickey Lee Watson said. "If we can put a smile on one child's face with a teddy bear, we're very happy and proud to be a part of that."

The "Teddies For Tragedies" program originated in England in 1985. That year, the Women's Royal Voluntary Services began the tradition by knitting bears for children in a refugee camp in the Sudan. Since that time, the program has grown into a worldwide effort to help children in need everywhere.

According to Robert Dent, Marketing & Development Director of the Osceola County Council On Aging, his organization's involvement is truly a labor of love.

"The COA has been involved with the "Teddies For Tragedies" program for a number of years. Volunteers actually sew from scratch teddy bears," Dent said. "These teddy bears are sent overseas to orphanages and hospitals in foreign countries to children that are very deserving and really need a little bit of lift and happiness in life.

"It began with some of the local faith-based organizations starting the program and it has grown from there. I can't give you probably an accurate number but it is well into the thousands of teddy bears that we have shipped overseas to different locations."

The Seals organization believes, especially at this time of year, that it is important to let the less fortunate know that someone cares.

"These are children that we don't even know or have ever talked to," Watson said. "No child should go without a Christmas present. No child should go unrecognized. We're all in this world together and we're all as one."
 

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Sirois named Sher-Wood Player of the Week

HUNTSVILLE, AL - For the second consecutive week, Allan Sirois of the Pee Dee Cyclones, has been named the Sher-wood Hockey "Player of the Week" for the past week.

Sirois, from Riviere-Du-Loup, Quebec, had eight points in two games including six in one game. He currently leads the SPHL in scoring with 37 points, 14 goals and 23 assists.
 
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