Herrmann’s Dramatic Game Winner Provides Ice Flyers Thrilling OT Win On Star Wars Night

November 20, 2023

by Bill Vilona

The Ice Flyers had the force with them for most of Star Wars Night.

Finally, as time waned in overtime, they got the fortune, too.

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Defenseman Zac Herrmann made a nifty deke move on a Macon player, then lifted a backhand shot into the net with 1:58 left in the extra period as the Ice Flyers gained a hard-earned 3-2 win Saturday night against the Macon Mayhem.

The deciding moment came in a game where the Ice Flyers outshot Macon 53-18 in one of the biggest shot differentials imaginable.

“I kinda lost (puck) a bit and got lucky, pulled it through and I knew the goalie was fighting to get across (the crease) so I had to go up with it,” said Herrmann, who scored his fourth goal this season. “I did a quick look and he was still kind of moving side to side, so it’s just an instinct thing.

“It was one of those games where we were fighting our sticks a little bit and not burying our chances.”

The win completed another festive night with 5,520 delighted fans at the Pensacola Bay Center and kept the Ice Flyers (7-4) unbeaten (5-0) on home ice through the first month of the season. The Ice Flyers will have their next home game on Wednesday, the night before Thanksgiving Day.

After Brett Mecrones flicked a wrist shot into the net with 13:23 remaining to give the Ice Flyers a 2-1 lead, the game continued to be played in Macon’s defensive zone

But just as Macon pulled goaltender Josh Boyko, who had been brilliant the entire game, for an extra attacker, the Mayhem’s Tommy Munichiello tied the game with 1:19 left. The arena when from excited to deflated.
“I’ve been on both sides of it and when you are on this side of it, when you are really outplaying the other team, out-chancing them, they are very challenging game to coach,” said Ice Flyers coach Gary Graham. “Because that team was just waiting for a break. They started getting behind us and hoping for an opportunity.”

In the overtime, Ice Flyers goaltender Stephen Mundinger stopped a breakaway chance for Macon, which then triggered the Ice Flyers’ rush the other way. Herrmann got the puck, made the move and won the game.

“That was kind of the epitome of three on three (overtime hockey),” Herrmann said. “I gotta a little lucky, I think I made a bad read on that and ‘Dinger (Mundinger) bailed us out and obviously the puck went the other way and made nice play and scored.”

“Zach’s move… if you know how bad the ice is in overtime… to be able to pull that to his backhand on that ice and tuck it up underneath the bar is an extremely difficult thing to do. He is playing some outstanding hockey for us right now.”

After dropping Friday night’s game at Birmingham 5-3, Graham was anxious to see how his team would respond in a quick turnaround with a different opponent.

Macon scored just 1:18 into the game. The Ice Flyers had numerous changes in the ensuing minutes to tie the game and it finally happened with 2:36 left before intermission when Dallas Comeau took a pass from Garrett Millan between the faceoff circles and produced the goal.

“It was close,” Graham said.

But that is how the game stayed until the third period.

“We did a lot better job of getting to the goalie and making it uncomfortable,” Graham said. “You have to tip your hat to (Boyko). He played spectacular. He was out of this world. He really gave them a chance and that’s what you need some nights when you’re not at your best.

“I thought it was a good hockey game for the fans, because we played extremely hard. And after a loss, I think that is what you want to see from your group. Every time we have lost a game this year, we’ve had a response.”

The night began with Star Wars characters in costumes from the 501st Legion greeting fans outside the Bay Center, then inside the arena on the concourse level

WHO: Birmingham Bulls vs. Ice Flyers
WHEN: Wednesday, 7:05 p.m.
WHERE: Pensacola Bay Center


One Response to “Herrmann’s Dramatic Game Winner Provides Ice Flyers Thrilling OT Win On Star Wars Night”

  1. Dan Paquette on November 20th, 2023 11:43 am

    Thanks for the wrap up, Bill.
    What a great game and another big crowd.
    Exciting and entertaining – hockey fans are wild.
    Check out live hockey at the Bay Center if you get a chance.
    Go Ice Flyers !