Ice Flyers Secure Back-to-Back Wins (With Photo Gallery)

March 3, 2024

by Bill Vilonam, Ice Flyers correspondent

The Ice Flyers took on their alter identity Saturday as the Pensacola Bushwackers, then continued a recent trend of being a different team.

All in a good way.

For more photos, click here.

After taking a 2-0 lead in the four minutes into the second period, the Ice Flyers grinded out a 2-1 victory against the Fayetteville Marksmen for their first back-to-back home weekend wins since December 1 and 2 when beating Peoria twice.

“I think we’re all jelling,” said Pensacola goaltender Stephen Mundinger, who made 34 saves – many of them creating reaction from the Bay Center crowd of 5,202.

“With every winning team, you just have to get hot before the playoffs and I think that’s the direction we are going,” Mundinger said. “Guys are buying in, doing all the right plays. It’s a whole different feel in the (dressing) room in my opinion. We are going into games confident.

The win pushed the Ice Flyers (21-20, 3 OT losses) above .500 for the first time in a long while and with 45 points.

The players were attired in the Bushwacker uniforms that were so popular a year ago and that was part of a theme of other activities in the game.


The Ice Flyers delivered on their first power play chance. Joseph Widmar finished a perfect pass from Garrett Milan, who was fed the puck by Andy Willis. The classic “tick-tac-goal” was wristed by Widmar into the net with 13:34 remaining.

Mundinger made a big save midway through the period. The Ice Flyers finished with a 16-9 edge in shots.


Mitch Atkins gave the Ice Flyers a 2-0 lead less than four minutes into the period on an assist from Ivan Bondarenko. He finished a shot from the slot area and the Ice Flyers were seemingly on their way.

But the game got tight. Fayetteville got their goal with 10:17 left in the period.

Taylor Egan then got the crowd going when squaring off in a fight against Fayetteville’s Ty Proffitt. Both players landed punches, but Egan won the fight with a flurry at the end that got Proffitt on the ice.


No scoring, but plenty of end of game drama.

Mundinger made of one of his biggest saves of the game with 8:09 left on a point-black shot by Fayetteville right in the slot area.

The Ice Flyers then got a power play opportunity with four minutes left when the Marksmen were called for too many men on the ice. They had a few shots, but nothing led to a goal.

With 1:15 left, the Marksmen pulled goaltender Ryan Kenny, who made 35 saves.


Ice Flyers owner Greg Harris presented a $25,000 check to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida.

The team honored front office executive Brenden Arney, who worked his 100th game Saturday night.


Ice Flyers Coach Gary Graham:

“It was good. We’re slowing trying to build some momentum. The captains had a good meeting this week to set up some long-term goals. We had 14 games left, now we have 12 games left and we’re kind of breaking it up in a couple seven game segments with some goals to achieve each game. I thought it was a great idea. They are really leading right now.
Guys are stepping up right now. I thought it was a playoff style game. Both goalies played really well. Both teams checked well and both teams clamped down defensively, reminiscent of more what a playoff game would look like.”


WHO: Ice Flyers vs. Peoria Rivermen
WHEN: March 8-9
WHERE: Peoria Civic Center, Peoria, Illinois


One Response to “Ice Flyers Secure Back-to-Back Wins (With Photo Gallery)”

  1. Rodney on March 3rd, 2024 12:23 pm

    Thank you Bill for taking the time for your expert analysis of our home team.