04/06/2019 5:40 PM -
Knoxville, TN (April 6, 2019) The Knoxville Ice Bears defeated the Pensacola Ice Flyers at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum 5-2 in a physical affair.
“I feel like we didn’t play a team game and we didn’t have individuals show up last night. So, to bounce back to close out the season is exactly what we needed” said Ice Bears head coach Jeff Carr.
After falling behind 2-0 in the first period against the Ice Flyers last night, it would be Nick DiNicola and the Ice Bears to hang one up on them first as DiNicola would put it past Sammy Bernard on a break away at the 15:26 mark of the first period with an assist going to David Brancik.
“We knew that yesterday wasn’t our best game and that we had a whole ‘nother level to get to tonight” said DiNicola.
The goal lights would be put to work in the 2nd period and it would all start with a fantastic two-man offense from Scott Cuthrell, finding Lucas Bombardier in front of the net for the Ice Bears second goal, just a minute and 21 seconds into the period.
Pensacola would get one back as Brian Morgan would answer a couple minutes later, only for the Ice Bears and Stefan Brucato to get the goal right back at the 6:44 mark.
Gehrett Sargis would lead the troops down the ice with 11 minutes left in the 2nd period, snipe a puck off the left pipe and find the back of the net to give the Ice Bears a commanding 4-1 lead.
“We had an attitude about ourselves tonight that we weren’t going to get pushed around and we were able to take it to them” said Carr.
With the score 4-1 in favor of Knoxville, Joseph Drapluk would close the period with a rebound goal to cut the deficit to two and give the Ice Flyers some life.
That would be the last goal the Ice Flyers would get in the game as Hayden Stewart would put on a show during his first game back after being on the IR for a month. Stewart would finish the game saving 27 shots on 29 attempts and recording an assist in the process.
“You want to get him [Stewart] tested in a game so you have two guys [Stewart and Michael Santaguida] who are playoff ready and Stewie didn’t disappoint” said Carr.
With time winding down, Mitchell Mueller would score an empty net goal with 23 seconds left in the game and that would be the goal that would lock home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs for the Ice Bears.
“We are a tough team and we showed tonight that we just have to play our game and they [Pensacola] will run into mistakes and we were able to capitalize on it.” said Carr.
The Ice Bears will find out who they will play in the first round of the playoffs on Sunday, April 7 with the first game in Knoxville set for Tuesday, April 9 or Friday, April 12. Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.com or at the box office at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum.
ABOUT The Knoxville Ice Bears: The Knoxville Ice Bears organization began in 2002 and was an inaugural charter member of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) in 2004. As four-time SPHL Champions, the Ice Bears are an experienced and established organization, offering the city and its’ visitors a balanced product of highlight-reel hockey, unique and exciting intermission activity and endless fan interaction, presenting the most affordable, family-friendly way to enjoy sports and entertainment. Season, Partial Season and Flex Tickets are now on sale. For more information, visit www.knoxvilleicebears.com or call (865) 525-7825.
The Knoxville Ice Bears organization began in 2002 and was an inaugural charter member of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) in 2004. As four-time SPHL Champions, the Ice Bears are an experienced and established organization, offering the city and its visitors a balanced product of highlight-reel hockey, unique and exciting intermission activity and endless fan interaction, presenting the most affordable, family-friendly way to enjoy sports and entertainment.