KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (release) -- The Knoxville Ice Bears fell to the Columbus Cottonmouths 5-2 in front of a crowd of 2,391.
The Cottonmouths jumped out to an early two goal lead in the first period when Columbus’ Matt Gingera scored a power play goal at 7:00 and Tom Fitzpatrick, nine minutes later, scored a fluke goal that eluded Ice Bears’ netminder Connor Toomey.
The second period was a defensive struggle for both teams as no goals were scored. Knoxville registered two shots and Columbus sent five shots to the Knoxville cage.
The third period really opened up for both teams, all coming in a span of less than four min. Columbus struck first at 12:51 when Gingera notched his second goal of the game, putting the visitors up 3-0. Knoxville rookie Peter Neal killed the potential shut out for Cottonmouths’ netminder Ian Vigier when he jammed home a loose puck at 15:18. Less than a minute later Cottonmouths’ captain Sam Bowles broke in a two-on-one and made a veteran move to beat Toomey.
Knoxville jumped right back in the saddle :18 later when Neal notched his second goal of the game when he skated across the inside of the blue line and ripped a wristshot past an unset Vigier to cut the lead to 4-2. Knoxville looked to be on the comeback trail when Columbus’ Levi Lind was whistled for roughing at 19:09 to put the Ice Bears on the power play. With goaltender Toomey pulled for an extra attacker, Knoxville skated the final minute with a 6-on-4 advantage.
Despite the two extra players on the ice for Knoxville, Columbus’ Bowles cleared the zone on a desperation play and the puck trickled in the Ice Bears net to seal the game at 5 -2.
The Ice Bears will be back in action to host the Mississippi RiverKings for “Country Night” presented by Q-93 on Friday, Dec. 21. The evening will host three rising talents with Jessica Deason singing the National Anthem, Southern Drawl performing during the first intermission and Mark Cooke will play during the second intermission. Puck drops at 7:30 pm.
To order tickets call (865) 656-4444 or visit www.knoxvilletickets.com.