FAYETTEVILLE, NC (team release) -- The Knoxville Ice Bears handed Fayetteville their fourth consecutive home loss by defeating the FireAntz 5-2. Kevin Swider (2G -1A) and Eric Slais (0G-3A) each had three point nights.
Knoxville got on the board early. At the 3:09 minute mark, Dan Bremner fired a shot that missed the net wide and bounced off the boards right to Berkley Scott who ripped a shot right under the crossbar for a 1-0 lead. The Ice Bears carried the play for much of the first period and even had two power-play opportunities; it wasn’t until 18:46 mark that Bremner found the back of the net to push the lead to 2-0.
Knoxville continued their growing trend of scoring early in periods. In the second period, Swider attempted to feed the puck across the front of the goal crease but bounced back to his stick where he buried the puck short side past FireAntz netminder Mike Brown. Swider’s goal at 1:38 pushed Fayetteville into a 3-0 hole.
Fayetteville is not a team that will lie down. Long time Ice Bears nemesis, Chris Leveille blasted a shot on the power-play through a crowd and past Bryan Hince to put the FireAntz on the board.
SPHL defensive scoring leader Mark Van Vliet added to his totals when he capitalized on an odd man rush. Van Vliet was parked on the backside of the net where he received a pass from Kevin Swider to score his 6th goal of the season. The goal put the Ice Bears up 4-1 to head in the locker room after two periods of play.
The third period saw a determined Fayetteville team try to cut into three goal deficit. They attacked the Ice Bears relentlessly but were only able to beat Hince one time. Jesse Biduke scored an even strength goal at 12:06 of the period.
With less than 90 seconds remaining in the game, Ice Bears’ Tyler Fletcher was called for high sticking. The infraction gave Fayetteville a 6 on 4 man advantage with their goalie pulled. With the two extra skaters, the FireAntz were never able to establish strong offensive zone control. Knoxville’s tenacious penalty killers were rewarded with a Kevin Swider short-handed goal at 19:57 to seal the game at 5-2.
The next home game is Monday, Dec. 26. Come celebrate “Kid’s Night” with a special SpongeBob SquarePants theme and Family Four Packs (4 Silver Level Tickets, 4 Hot Dogs and 4 Soft Drinks) for $44. The Knoxville Ice Bears host the Mississippi RiverKings - puck drops at 7:30 p.m. It’s the perfect activity for visiting friends and family this holiday season.