KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (release) -- For the first time in the 2011-2012 season, the Knoxville Ice Bears hosted the Louisiana IceGators. The Ice Bears kicked off Legend’s Weekend in front of 3,861 fans. Knoxville fell to the Louisiana 5-4.
David Segal scored first to lift Knoxville to an early 1-0 lead at 3:11 the first period. Louisiana answered just over 4 minutes later on a shot that squeaked between Knoxville goalie Jesse Kallechy’s legs.
Louisiana pulled ahead at 12:53 in the first period. After Louisiana’s second goal, Nick Niedert made his season debut in goal with the Ice Bears replacing Kallechy. Just 75 seconds later, the IceGators scored their third unanswered goal for a 3-1 lead.
Segal finished off the first period with his second goal of the game. The Ice Bears goal was assisted by Mike Towns and Paul Holder. The period ended with Knoxville trailing 2-3 to Louisiana but leading in shots on goal 15 to 6.
Knoxville was quick to tie the game 1:03 into the second period. Captain Kevin Swider scored his 20th goal of the season on a set-up from Emery Olauson and Mark Van Vliet. Both teams had power play opportunities but neither were able to find the back of the net.
Louisiana’s Jason Hill finessed the puck past Niedert to regain the lead 4-3 at 12:34 of the middle stanza.
Louisiana strengthened their lead in the third period when former Ice Bears player Josh Boyd shot through the Ice Bears defense and put Knoxville down 5-3 at 3:06 of the third period. With 59 seconds left in the game Towns buried the puck past Louisiana goalie Dan Earles to decrease the lead to 5-4. Despite plenty of pressure in the final minute, the Ice Bears were unable to force overtime.
These same two teams will faceoff tomorrow night in the Civic Coliseum. The puck drops at 7:30. Your ticket to tomorrow night’s game also gets you entry to the Legends Game. Come watch Knoxville Ice Bears veterans take the ice again in an exhibition. Players include Knoxville Ice Bears President & General Manager Mike Murray and all-stars like Frank Furdero, Tim Vitek and Mike Craigen. Their game will begin at 5:30. Following the Ice Bears game, Legend’s jerseys will be auctioned off.