Augusta, GA (SUBMITTED) -- The Knoxville Ice Bears are perfect out the gate. The three time champions traveled to Augusta for the first time in their nine year franchise history and walked out of James Brown Arena with a convincing 5-3 victory.
Tonight’s game was the polar opposite of last night’s thrilling overtime winner. Each team committed only two penalties until the final 1:20 of the game when Knoxville was called for two infractions 40 seconds apart. With Augusta’s goalie pull, the Ice Bears successfully killed off a very rare, six-on-three power play.
Their first meeting saw a dominate Ice Bears team take the ice in the first period. Controlling the play and winning the one-on-one battles helped lift the Ice Bears to a 1 – 0 lead on a goal by captain Mike Bulawka with assists from Robby Spalding and penalty minute king David Segal.
Riverhawks seemed to like Knoxville’s game plan, they decided to imitate the physical play the visitors showcased. The plan appeared to work when Augusta’s Matt Auffrey notched his first of the season at 8:17 into the middle period with assists from Neil Graham and Chris Ferazzoli.
With the period winding down, the Ice Bears drew even with 1:44 remaining in the period on a goal by Segal with the lone assist to Mark Van Vliet.
Five periods of hockey have been played in the entire Ice Bears 2010-11 season and the team has yet to break out with an explosion of goals in one period. Knoxville broke out and managed to score three goals in less than five minutes to reach their final five goal total of the evening.
Leading off the scoring in the third period was overtime goal scorer Emery Olauson on a fantastic pass from Frank Furdero. Just over two minutes later Van Vliet skated end to end scoring a brilliant unassisted goal to push the Ice Bears lead to 4 – 1.
Trailing by three, Augusta’s Graham cut into the Ice Bears lead with the lone assist from Auffrey. Knoxville finished their scoring spree on the power play with a rebound goal from rookie Eric Slais from a well placed shot from new fan favorite Martin Kubaliak.
Not going away quietly the home team scored their lone power play goal from Graham at the 11:19 mark assisted again by Auffrey. Pressing to draw even, Augusta forced the Ice Bears to take two penalties in the final 100 seconds of the game but drew blanks on the opportunity.
The Ice Bears are on the road next weekend with stops in Columbus, GA to face off against the Cottonmouths and then back to James Brown Arena to take on the Augusta Riverhawks. All games are broadcasted live on AmericaOne at http://www.americaone.com/.
Courtesy: Knoxville Ice Bears
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