KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (release) -- The Knoxville Ice Bears returned to the Civic Coliseum tonight to play the Columbus Cottonmouths. A crowd of 3,183 fans filled the arena to cheer on the Ice Bears. Knoxville held the lead through most of the game, but in the end Columbus skated away with a 6-5 win.
Andrew Dovey, who signed his first professional contract today, notched his first professional goal 5:02 into the first period to put the Ice Bears at a 1-0 lead. Columbus tied the game at the 17:43 minute mark. Sam Bowles ripped a slap shot past Knoxville’s Bryan Hince on a power play.
The tie didn’t last long. With 1:07 left in the period, Eric Satim found the net giving the Ice Bears a 2-1 lead. Ben Power and Mark Van Vliet assisted the goal.
Columbus started the second period skating 5-on-4 after Van Vliet was given 2 minutes for roughing at the end of the first. At 5:04 Dovey caught the puck stick-side off a pass from Brettt Valliquette and sent it past Columbus’ Andrew Loewen to boost the Ice Bears lead to 3-1 with his second goal of the game. Ben Schoeneberger was the second assist earning him his first career point.
Francis Drolet widened the gap just 33 seconds later. Brady Vandenberk and Phil Bronner were first and second assist to the Ice Bears’ fourth goal.
Brad Pawlowski and Will Aide started chirping in warm-ups, and they finally dropped their gloves 5:44 minutes into the second. “The Plow” sent Aide to the ice, and both players were given 5 minutes for fighting.
Columbus made a quick comeback when they scored three goals in less than 4 minutes. The third goal, scored on a power play while Valliquette was boxed, left the teams tied at 4. The Ice Bears regained the lead before entering the final period. With 5:05 left in the second, Jason Price had a shot. The puck was deflected, caught by Power, and sent to the net for a score of 5-4. Satim was the second assist.
Columbus tied the game again 7:57 into the third period. Power was sent to the penalty box for holding at 16:17, and Columbus skated a 5-on-4 power play. They were able to capitalize on the man advantage and took the lead for the first time when Jason Gray came from the back side and hit the net. The Ice Bears battled hard after they pulled Hince to end the game with an extra attacker, but Knoxville wasn’t able to force overtime.
The Ice Bears will be back at home on Friday, January 17 to skate against the Huntsville Havoc. Fans won’t want to miss the first ever “Puck Dynasty” night! The Ice Bears will skate in Duck Dynasty themed jerseys, and the jerseys will be auctioned off following the game. Puck drops at 7:30. For tickets call 865-656-444 or visit www.knoxvilleicebears.com