Garrett Milan Sets Ice Flyers Franchise Goal Scoring Record In Dramatic OT Win

March 2, 2024

by Bill Vilona, Ice Flyers correspondent

Garrett Milan won a dramatic, overtime game and became the Ice Flyers all-time, goal-scoring leader on a shot he didn’t take.

But therein lies the beauty of it all.

For more photos, click here.

Milan’s determination and some deft moves around net led to a sequence that resulted in a Fayetteville player’s attempt to wrist away a shot becoming an own-goal that lifted the Ice Flyers to a 5-4 victory Friday night at the Pensacola Bay Center.

“You’re never going ask how you do it, as long as it goes in, and that’s kinda all that matters,” said Milan smiling, after his 86th career goal for the Ice Flyers surpassed Adam Pawlick, who was a lead part of the Ice Flyers run of championships.

In a fitting salute to his record, Milan was named as all three stars of the game.

Before a crowd of 4,456 on Small Dog Race Night, the Ice Flyers rallied three times to tie the game, after twice giving up goals less nearly immediately to start a period.

The Marksmen (25-15, 4 OT losses) entered the weekend in fourth place in the SPHL standings, but just a point behind defending President’s Cup champ, the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs, for third place. The Marksmen our on the verge of clinching a playoff spot.

The Ice Flyers (19-20, 3 OT losses) know they still have some work to do. But this was a best desired way to start a back-to-back set of games against a top tier team in the standings.

Fayetteville was 17-1-1 in prior games when scoring first. That changed Friday night.

The game recap:


The Ice Flyers had two of the best shots early in the period, but Fayetteville got the game’s first goal.

Adam Keyes slid home a rebound midway through the period, after Ice Flyers goaltender Eric Dop made an initial save.

Four minutes later with 5:58 remaining, the Ice Flyers Joseph Widmar got the first of his two goals to tie the game by flipping a backhand shot in the crease area as he rushed the net on a shot by Andy Willis.

The Ice Flyers then had a defensive breakdown which led to Fayetteville’s John Moncovich providing the Marksmen a 2-1 lead at intermission on his goal with 2:55 remaining.


The Marksmen took a 3-1 lead just 62 seconds into the period on a power play goal. It was the kind of scenario that often led to an Ice Flyers defeat.

Not this time.

A little over two minutes later, Widmar got a great pass from Ivan Bondarenko and buried his shot to get energy back in the crowd. It was followed by a tying goal by Malik Johnson just two minutes after that one. Johnson was set up with a great pass from Lucas Herrmann and his one-timer shot soared past Fayetteville goalie Ryan Kenny.


This started badly for the Ice Flyers. The Marksmen took advantage of a lapse and scored just 11 seconds into the period.

The scored stayed that way until the Ice Flyers scored on their third power play chance in a five-minute span. The charm on this one occurred when Sean Gulka was in front of the net and had a wrist shot by Jordan Henderson deflect off his leg into the net with 3:58 left in the game.

Milan just missed seconds later on a rush and Widmar just missed a game-winning hat trick with a breakaway chance.


The Ice Flyers controlled play in the 3-on-3 sequence. Fayetteville never got a shot on goal. By keeping the puck mostly in the Marksmen zone, Milan made a play with some spin moves, worked free in a crease area, then flicked a pass attempt that a Marksmen player mistakenly wristed into his own net with 2:56 left in overtime.


Ice Flyers Coach Gary Graham:

“Garrett said it best in the lockeroom…had if it were probably four or five weeks ago, we lose that game probably 4-1. We just don’t have (past tense) that sense of belief where we can come from behind. I think what we have shown over the last month is the team is starting to get more confident and belief that we can score goals in critical times.

On Garrett’s Goal: “I’m sure he didn’t want his (record) goal to be like that, but I wanted it to be like that. Let me tell you why, I’m very superstitious. And we’ve had crap luck the entire season. We’ve had so many stupid goals go on our team and lose games off bounces of a guy’s butts in the net, skates in the net. We’ve had barely any puck luck this year. And so we have been due. And I told Garrett, it’s funny your record goal is this ugly goal that basically they score on their own net…. we’re going to take it.

Ice Flyers Captain Garrett Milan

“I think it’s huge for not only the morale, but the confidence in the locker room that we came back from one goal, then came back from 3-1 and obviously at the end. I think that is huge moving forward and we’re a whole different team now with confidence going into this final stretch here.”


— Before the game, Ice Flyers’ long time radio broadcaster Paul Chestnutt was welcomed into the team’s locker room by invitation from Gary Graham to read the starting lineup and speak to the team. He received a loud cheer by the players for his recent induction into the Pensacola Sports Hall of Fame. Chestnutt was also honored by the Ice Flyers on the video board during a timeout in the second period, eliciting a loud applause from the crowd.

— Like always, the small dog races were a big hit with numerous preliminary heats, a consolation and championship race in the second intermission sponsored by Olive Branch Pet Hospital.

— Always a fan favorite, the “Kiss Cam” Friday night came with a marriage proposal when a gentleman in the crowd got down on one knee in the seats and proposed to his girlfriend, who was attired in an Ice Flyers specialty jersey.


WHO: Fayetteville Marksmen vs. Ice Flyers.

WHEN: Saturday, 7:05 p.m

WHERE: Pensacola Bay Center


One Response to “Garrett Milan Sets Ice Flyers Franchise Goal Scoring Record In Dramatic OT Win”

  1. Rodney on March 2nd, 2024 11:16 am

    If you haven’t been to a game and are in search of entertainment, I encourage a visit to an Ice Flyers game. LET’S GO FLYERS!