The Thunderbolts are currently competing in their fifth season in the SPHL (Southern Professional Hockey League).
After a weekend split concluded by a comeback win in Vermilion County this past Friday, the Thunderbolts prepare for perhaps their biggest test yet, facing each of the SPHL’s top-three ranked teams over three days, starting at Ford Center on Friday against Quad City, before traveling to Huntsville on Saturday and Knoxville on Sunday.
Week In Review:
The Thunderbolts heavily outshot the Huntsville Havoc on Ford Center ice last Thursday night, by a factor of 35 to 23. However, the Havoc made the most of their shots, scoring 5 times, while goaltender Hunter Vorva stopped all but one of Evansville’s 35 shots, as the Havoc willed their way to a 5-1 win over Evansville. Brett Radford scored the lone goal for Evansville. Trailing 1-0 in Vermilion County with yet another heavy shot advantage, the floodgates finally burst, as Hayden Hulton and Tanner Butler scored late in the second period, while Zane Jones and TJ Dockery scored in the third period to lead the Thunderbolts to a 4-1 comeback victory. Ryan Edquist made 16 saves on 17 shots to secure his first professional win.
The Week Ahead:
The Thunderbolts host the Quad City Storm on Friday night at Ford Center, opening face-off at 7:00pm CT. For tickets, call (812)422-BOLT (2658), go to EvansvilleThunderbolts.com, or visit the Ford Center Ticket Office. On Saturday, the Thunderbolts will play in Huntsville against the Havoc at the Von Braun Center, starting at 7:00pm CT. On Sunday, the Thunderbolts will be in Knoxville to take on the Ice Bears, beginning early at 4:00pm CT. Saturday and Sunday’s games can be viewed online with a paid membership to SPHL TV through HockeyTV or can be listened to for free on the Thunderbolts Radio Network; at EvansvilleThunderbolts.com/
Scouting the Opponent:
- Quad City Storm:
- Record: 16-4-6, 38 Points, 3rd Place
- Leading Goal Scorer: Shane Bennett (10 Goals)
- Leading Point Scorer: Shane Bennett (24 Points)
- Primary Goaltender: Thomas Proudlock (1-2-2, .914 Save %)
- Thunderbolts 21-22 Record vs QCS: 2-2-0
The Storm lost both games last weekend at home to the Huntsville Havoc, starting with a 6-2 loss on Friday night, despite a 45-31 shot advantage. Connor Fries scored for Quad City in the second period, while Tommy Tsicos scored in the third period. Saturday’s game finished regulation tied at 2-2, thanks to two goals from Marcus Ortiz. Despite picking up a standings point, the Storm lost the game in a 10-round shootout, which saw Storm goals by Ortiz and Mason Krueger.
- Huntsville Havoc:
- Record: 23-3-2, 48 Points, 1st Place
- Leading Goal Scorer: Jacob Barber (21 Goals)
- Leading Point Scorer: Jacob Barber (41 Points)
- Primary Goaltender: Hunter Vorva (9-2-2, .934 Save %)
- Thunderbolts 21-22 Record vs HSV: 1-2-0
Sam Williams and Tyler Piacentini each scored one goal while Jacob Barber scored three times in Huntsville’s 5-1 win in Evansville on Thursday night, with Hunter Vorva making 34 saves on 35 shots. In Friday night’s 6-2 win in Quad City, Piacentini potted two goals, while Dylan Riley, Barber, Mathieu Newcomb and Rob Darrar each scored a goal. Zane Steeves stood tall in net with 43 saves on 45 shots. In Saturday night’s 3-2 shootout win over the Storm, Newcomb and Riley again scored in regulation, with shootout goals from Barber, Darrar, and Piacentini. Much like Thursday in Evansville, Vorva stopped just about everything, 40 saves on 42 shots, plus 8 of 10 in the shootout. The Havoc’s win streak came to an end this past Tuesday in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Ice Bears in Huntsville, despite Sy Nutkevich scoring the opening goal. No Havoc players managed to score in the shootout, despite Vorva again giving his team every opportunity, only allowing 1 goal on 31 shots in regulation and overtime, and only 1 goal in the shootout. The Havoc play in Pensacola on Friday before hosting the Thunderbolts on Saturday.
- Knoxville Ice Bears:
- Record: 20-3-2, 42 Points, 2nd Place
- Leading Goal Scorer: Four Players (12 Goals Each)
- Leading Point Scorer: J.B. Baker (28 Points)
- Primary Goaltender: Kristian Stead (9-0-1, .920 Save %)
- Thunderbolts 21-22 Record vs KNX: 0-1-0
The Ice Bears defeated Vermilion County 4-1 in Knoxville on Saturday night, with two goals from Anthony McVeigh and a goal each from Dean Balsamo and J.B. Baker. Kristian Stead stopped 18 of 19 shots faced. Jared Nash scored Knoxville’s regulation goal on Tuesday in Huntsville, with Stefan Brucato scoring the lone goal in the shootout for either side. Stead stopped 30 of 31 shots faced in regulation and overtime, along with all 5 Havoc shootout attempts. The Ice Bears play in Macon this Friday and Saturday before returning home to host the Thunderbolts on Sunday afternoon.
- Kyle Thacker (Adirondack Thunder – ECHL)
- Games Played: 23 (5 with Iowa, 14 with Cincinnati, 4 with Adirondack)
- 2 Goals, 3 Assists, 5 Points, 8 PIM
- Cooper Jones (Idaho Steelheads – ECHL)
- Games Played: 13 (1 with Jacksonville IceMen, 12 with Idaho)
- Cole Stallard (Iowa Heartlanders – ECHL)
- Games Played: 22
- Scott Kirton (Cincinnati Cyclones – ECHL)
- Games Played: 2
- 0 Goals, 1 Assist, 1 Point, 0 PIM
Thur. 1/6: Connor Chatham placed on team suspension
Thur. 1/6: Kai Edmonds placed on team suspension
Thur. 1/6: Tyriq Outen placed on team suspension
The Thunderbolts are currently competing in their fifth season in the SPHL (Southern Professional Hockey League). Season tickets are less than $9 per game. To order your tickets for this season, call 812-422-BOLT(2658).