JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – When you have just three games left in the season and you have just missed out on the playoffs, pride is the main thing that you are playing for according to players on the Jacksonville Icemen.
They host the first place Florida Everblades Thursday and Friday night at the Veterans Memorial Arena in the final home games of their inaugural season. The Icemen have just one win in 10 games against the ECHL south division leaders but that doesn't mean anything this weekend.
"At some point pride has to kick in," said forward Cameron Critchlow. "They have played well all year, they are a strong team so I think that we have to come in and play just as strong. We have played them well all year even though our record doesn't show that but we have played a lot of tight games and we will just have to keep doing that this weekend."
Head coach Jason Christie told us that making the playoffs has always been the goal this season. However, just because they came up short, there are still many positives to build on for next year.
"It's obviously not good to miss out on the playoffs but there are a lot of good things that we have done," said Christie in his first year as the Icemen head coach. "Players have been involved in the community, fans that have come to the games have enjoyed it, there is a lot of excitement there."
Team captain Garet Hunt has played in the ECHL for almost 10 years now and admits that there isn't too many arenas that he hasn't skated in as a professional. The Icemen forward says the fan support this season has been second to none.
"I hope all the fans come out for these last couple games," said Hunt. "They have been all year. I think we are third or fourth in attendance but I've played everywhere in the league and this is the number one place to play. It's a great arena, the fans are right there, they are involved the entire game whether we are scoring or hitting. The fan support has been great."
The puck drops at the Veterans Memorial Arena for both games against the Everblades at 7:30 PM.