Knoxville, TN (Ice Bears Submitted) - After a shutout in game one, the Knoxville Ice Bears returned to the Civic Coliseum tonight for game two of their first round playoff series against the Louisiana Ice Gators. The teams battled hard and were tied at the end of regulation play. The Ice Bears clinched the win in sudden death overtime, 3-2. They will advance to the second round of the SPHL playoffs to battle top seed Pensacola Ice Flyers.
The Ice Gators took a quick lead in the first period to ensure they wouldn’t be shutout. Shawn McNeil hit the back of the net 22 seconds in to take the lead 1-0. Knoxville’s Jon Higgins was penalized 2 minutes for roughing at 10:29, but the Gators were denied on the man advantage. It was the Ice Bears that found the back of the net during Higgins’ penalty. Eric Satim jammed the puck past Louisiana’s Matt Zenzola after Peter Neal outworked two IceGators behind the net for the set-up.
The second period started with the teams knotted at 1. The Ice Bears saw their first power play of the playoffs 4:04 into the second when Louisiana’s Adam Stuart was penalized for roughing. Knoxville skated a second man-advantage 8 minutes later. Louisiana saw one power play with David Segal in the box, but neither team could break the tie.
Knoxville finally took their first lead of the evening at 4:33 into the third. Zenzola slid right to the face the shooter, Mark Van Vliet who sent a slap shot glove-side. Satim and Neal both earned their second point of the game with the assists.
The Ice Bears lead didn’t last long. Ice Gator Chris Wilson scored on a fluke goal past Bryan Hince to tie the game at 2 with 8:25 left of play. The Ice Bears received one last power play from a Louisiana tripping penalty, but regulation play ended with the teams tied at 2.
The game moved into a sudden death, 20 minute playoff period. With just 2:31 left in overtime, Satim fired the puck in for the game winning goal with assists from Francis Drolet and Brad Pawlowski. Satim finished the night with two goals and one assist.
The Knoxville Ice Bears vs Pensacola Ice Flyers series schedule:
Knoxville at Pensacola on Thursday, April 3rd at 8:05 pm
Knoxville vs. Pensacola on Saturday, April 5th at 7:30 pm
Knoxville at Pensacola on Sunday, April 6th at 7:05 pm
All times EST – tickets for Saturday’s game are scheduled to go on sale at 10 am on Monday.
Mercedes-Benz 3 Stars of the Game:
1st Star: Eric Satim (Knoxville)
2nd Star: Peter Neal (Knoxville)
3rd Star: Mark Van Vliet (Knoxville)