Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Morning Game Suits Icemen in First Home Win

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Morning Game Suits Icemen in First Home Win

Article excerpt

Byline: Clayton Freeman

Maybe every Jacksonville Icemen game should start a few ticks after the crack of dawn.

Is left wing Emerson Clark a morning person? The proof is in the results.

"I must be," he said. "Went to bed really early last night, woke up early, had a good breakfast and I was ready to go."

Two goals and an assist later, 10:30 a.m. turned out to be the right time for the Icemen associate captain.

The Icemen's earliest home game drew its youngest crowd and its best result, a 5-2 victory over the South Carolina Stingrays Tuesday morning to capture the team's first ECHL win when playing at the Veterans Memorial Arena.

After three one-goal losses at the arena, the Icemen (2-6-1-0) finally notched a spot in the win column on home ice.

"We definitely needed that today," head coach Jason Christie said. "The guys have been working so darn hard, and we keep getting in those one-goal games and kept losing them."

Besides Clark's big game, Jimmy Lodge had a goal and two assists, and goaltender Jamie Phillips saved 29 of 31 shots to slam the door shut on a Stingrays comeback. The Icemen's only other victory also came in a school-morning game, in Ontario against the Brampton Beast on Oct. 8.

It didn't look like Jacksonville would be celebrating this one, after Dylan Margonari scored for South Carolina (7-2-2-0) just 105 seconds into the game.

But the Icemen fired back with five unanswered goals. Captain Garet Hunt put away a rebound off a Lodge shot, Lodge himself gave Jacksonville the lead with 33 seconds left in the first and the puck kept flying into the net of South Carolina's Jeff Jakaitis.

Jacksonville's first line of Clark, Alexandre Goulet and Elgin Pearce continued to mesh, playing a part in three goals.

"I've been with Goulet since day one, so we've started building connections," said Clark, who has tallied either a goal or an assist in seven consecutive games. …

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