KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (release) -- The Knoxville Ice Bears fell to the Columbus Cottonmouths 5-4 in front of a crowd of 3,115.
The Knoxville Ice Bears looked to get back on the winning track after the holiday but were constantly battling from behind all night long. Jason Yuel from the Cottonmouths struck first at 2:10 of the first period. Brad Pawlowski from the Ice Bears drew the teams even when he dangled the puck through three Cottonmouth defenders to back hand the shot past sprawled Cottonmouth netminder Ian Vigier.
Columbus struck again when Jordan Braid finished off a 2 on 1 to put the visitors in the lead. Ice Bears Tyler Fernandez tied the game off a nasty backhand shot that completely eluded Vigier. The run and gun offense continued when Alex MacLeod put the Cottonmouths up again on the power play at 10:53. Matt Pierce, who recently became a father two weeks ago, tied the game at 3 less than a minute later as he outwaited Vigier and beat him over the leg pad.
Columbus scored the final goal of the first period when Sam Bowles scored the Cottonmouth’s second power play goal of the game. The Cottonmouths were awarded a penalty shot at 16:24 when Ice Bears defenseman Jeremy Klaver disrupted a glorious chance for MacLeod and was whistled for hooking. Ice Bears netminder Toomey held the fort and denied the one on one opportunity to keep the Ice Bears within striking distance. After twenty minutes of play, the Ice Bears trailed the Cottonmouths 4-3.
The second period was the polar opposite of the first as both teams tightened up the defense as they traded limited opportunities but neither team was able to find the back of the net, keeping the score 4-3 after two periods of play.
The third period had the Ice Bears forcing the play as they looked to draw even. Emery Olauson knotted the game at four at 6:58. Speedy Ice Bears forward Berkley Scott deked at Cottonmouth defender and as he was being hauled to the ice, one handed a shot from a short angle that deflected off Olauson’s skate and into the net. Olauson’s goal was the only marker of the third period which forced overtime.
Fernandez had a golden opportunity to seal victory when he broke in alone but was denied by Vigier. On the ensuing rush Columbus’ Jordan Braid slipped behind the Ice Bears defense and made a move to beat Toomey for the 5-4 win.
The Ice Bears will be back on home ice on Saturday, December 29th for the final game of the calendar year. The Ice Bears will be hosting the first ever “Kids Run the Show Night” as kids will be chaperoned by the Ice Bears counterparts in all aspects of the game. The game starts at 7:30 pm.
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