A crowd of 4,008 fans enjoyed an exciting game at the Civic Coliseum tonight as the Knoxville Ice Bears hosted the Huntsville Havoc. Knoxville defeated Huntsville for the fourth time this season and increased their winning streak to three with a 4-2 victory.
The Ice Bears began the game with high energy and plenty of physicality. Captain Kevin Swider was sent to the penalty box at 8:57 for tripping. Just 4 seconds into the power play, Huntsville jumped out to a lead with the first goal of the game. Kyle Crawford scored his first goal of the season to give Huntsville to a 1-0 lead.
At 1:19 remaining in the first period, Mike Towns knotted the game at 1. Assisted by Steve Wiedler and Ricky Helmbrecht, Towns roofed the puck over Huntsville goalie Mark Sibbald.
With just 41 seconds remaining in the first, Huntsville's Ryan Kretzer was penalized for hooking leaving the Ice Bears beginning the second period on a power play for what proved to be an exciting period.
Knoxville's Brad Pawlowski dropped his gloves at 3:12 of the second period to square off with Huntsville's Sam Cannata. Pawlowski's resounding dominance dropped the over matched contender to the ice and sending him to his locker room.
Just 19 seconds later, Eric Slais picked up the puck from David Segal's well placed pass and ripped a short-handed goal. His eleventh goal of the season was also assisted by Mark Van Vliet, giving the Ice Bears their first lead at 2-1.
With 7:30 left on the clock, the Knoxville crowd and players celebrated a goal that was then waved off by the refs. Play continued and at 6:22 Huntsville's Jonathan Lafrance sent the puck straight past Knoxville's Kyle Rank to tie the game at 2.
When play stopped, the Ice Bears' attempted third goal was reviewed. After a seven minute deliberation, the Ice Bears were awarded the goal scored by Swider - assisted by Emery Olauson and Eric Satim. The score change sent the clock back to 7:30 and removed Huntsville's second goal giving the Ice Bears a 3-1 lead.
A brawl at the 20 minute mark ended the second period and Slais was awarded his first penalty of the season for slashing.
Huntsville began the third period 5-on-4 but couldn't cut into Knoxville's lead. At 11:45, Slais moved the puck glove side, attracting Sibbald's attention. Slais passed the puck to Berkley Scott who buried the puck, stick side to increase Knoxville's lead to 4-1.
Huntsville scored their last goal 14 minutes into the period for the final 4-2. Despite removing their goalie to skate an extra attacker, they could not catch up to Knoxville. Huntsville left with their third straight loss.
The Ice Bears will host the Huntsville Havoc at their next home game on Friday Feb. 24. Come out and support the Ice Bears and enjoy "Food Allergy Awareness Night" featuring allergenic friendly treats from local businesses. Puck drops at 7:30 p.m.