KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (release) -- After the Knoxville Ice Bears delivered a shutout in the Pensacola Civic Center on Thursday, both teams took the ice in the Knoxville Civic Coliseum tonight for game two of the semi-finals, best-of-three series. A crowd of 2,484 watched the physical game ending with Pensacola taking the win, 3-1, to tie the series. The teams will travel back to Pensacola to play the deciding game three tomorrow.
The Ice Bears received their first power play 15:20 into the first period. Pensacola’s Joshua Turnbull was penalized 2 minutes for slashing giving Knoxville a 5-on-4 advantage. Peter Neal capitalized on the power play when he tapped in the puck that was sitting under Ross MacKinnon to take a 1-0 lead. Brady Vandenberk was credited with the assist.
David Segal was called for roughing with 3:17 left in the period, but Pensacola couldn’t get past Bryan Hince. Then with 38 seconds remaining, Jon Higgins was sent to the box for hooking, and the Ice Flyers began the second period on the power play.
Just 15 seconds after puck drop in the second, Pensacola notched a power play goal by beating Hince on his glove-side to tie the game at 1. The Ice Flyers took a 2-1 lead 11 minutes later with a goal from Mitchell Good.
At 13:21 Jason Price was sent to the penalty box for hooking. One minute later Brad Pawlowski joined him on a high sticking call. The Ice Bears defense held off Pensacola through a 5-on-3 penalty kill. After two periods, the Ice Flyers held a 2-1 lead.
The teams battled in the final period, each with a different goal, Knoxville for a trip to the finals and Pensacola to force a third game. The Ice Bears were awarded two power play opportunities in the third but weren’t able to draw even. Drew Baker notched Pensacola’s final goal with an empty netter after the Ice Bears pulled Bryan Hince to skate an extra attacker.
With the series tied, both teams will travel back to Pensacola to play a winner-take-all game three at 7:05 pm EST. The winner of game three will move to the finals to compete for the President’s Cup against the Columbus Cottonmouths. Fans can listen to the game on WKVL.com or Spreaker.com. The game is available for viewing on America One and at Rooster’s in Rocky Hill.