KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (release) -- The Knoxville Ice Bears defeated top ranked Augusta RiverHawks 1-0 in a suspenseful defensive match up Saturday night at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum in front of a sold out crowd of 5,117.
The victory over Augusta helped seal a strong three game stretch, where the Ice Bears secure 5 out of a possible 6 points. Knoxville is now 5-0 against the RiverHawks who have been the top ranked team each meeting.
The first period saw the top two offensive teams in the SPHL trade opportunities. Both teams put up quality chances resulting in 10 shots on goal for Knoxville and 11 for Augusta but leaving zeros on the scoreboard. As tension on the ice heated up, new Ice Bears defenseman, Brad Pawlowski, dropped gloves with Tyler Howe. The fight was broken up by the refs after heavyweight punches were traded, and both players were sent to the penalty box.
Both teams came out strong fighting for the first goal, but despite the physical second period, neither team could get a point on the board. Knoxville was able to get it past Augusta goalie Peter Skoggard a few times, only to be stopped by the post.
With the score deadlocked at 0 at the start of the third period, the pressure for the first goal of the game was starting to mount. After a few post-whistle brawls between the teams, David Segal scored his 13th goal of the season on a power play. With assists from Eric Slais and Ricky Helmbrecht, Segal skated through the defense and fired a wrist shot from the high slot at 16:57 of the third period. Fans shot out of their seats in celebration. Just 3:03 separated Knoxville from victory. Kyle Rank shut the door as the clock ticked down – even holding off a 6-on-4 as Augusta pulled their goal while on the power play. Rank raised his record to 2-0-1 and earned his first professional shutout as an Ice Bear making the final score 1-0.
The Knoxville Ice Bears are home for two games next weekend when they host the Mississippi RiverKings on Friday for Pucks and Claws sponsored by the Knoxville Zoo and Saturday they host the Huntsville Havoc for the annual Miss Knoxville Ice Bear competition sponsored by Ray’s ESG. Puck drops at 7:30 pm both nights. For tickets and information please call (865) 525-7825 or visit www.knoxvilleicebears.com