KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (release) -- The Knoxville Ice Bears hosted the Mississippi RiverKings tonight for the second time this season. After a 10 day layoff, the RiverKings provided the Ice Bears with their toughest home contest of the season, but in the end Knoxville skated away unblemished in the loss column. After eight shoot-out rounds, Ricky Helmbrecht clinched the victory for Knoxville 4-3 with a dazzling goal.
A first period riddled with penalties, the Ice Bears earn three trips to the sin bin in three and a half minutes of play. Knoxville goalie Bryan Hince equaled the RiverKings’ power play through 5-on-4, 4-on-4 and 3-on-4 play early. At 8:59 Mississippi managed to break through on a power play for a 1-0 first period lead on a goal by Mark Magnowski.
Mississippi’s Magnowski scored his second goal of the game just 1:30 into the second period to put the Ice Bears on their heels. The RiverKings held a 2-0 lead for the next seven minutes before Helmbrecht lit the lamp for the Ice Bears, on a slap shot goal that was assisted by Kyle Van Dermale to cut the lead in half.
Knoxville tied the game with just 50 seconds remaining in the second period on a goal by Mark Van Vliet. A penalty called on Mississippi goalie Scott Darling gave the Ice Bears a 5-on-4 advantage. Captain Kevin Swider fed the puck to Jeremy Klaver. Klaver sent the puck to Van Vliet who poke the puck past Darling while being accosted by three RiverKing defenders.
Mississippi took jumped out to another early lead in the third period. At the one minute mark, Ken Selby gave Mississippi a 3-2 lead with a shorthanded goal. The Ice Bears power trio fought back 15 minutes later to knot the score at 3. Emery Olauson notched his league leading 14th goal of the season with assists from Swider and Tyler Fletcher. The goal forced the game be settled in extra time.
The game shifted to 3-on-3 sudden death overtime. After a furious five minute extra period the teams were still deadlocked and were forced to determine the winner in a shootout.
A 5-man shootout was set to decide the winner of the game. Mississippi’s first shooter snuck the puck past Hince. He was matched by Ice Bear’s second shooter, Van Vliet. The shootout went five more scoreless rounds before Helmbrecht took the eighth and final shot for Knoxville, winning the game.
The Ice Bears hit the road tomorrow to play the RiverKings in Southaven. The Ice Bears will return to home on Friday, December 16 to host the Huntsville Havoc. Puck drops at 7:30. Race fans come out and join the Ice Bears for an incredible night of fun.