Blake Wojtala made 54 saves for Fayetteville and the Marksmen defeated the Knoxville Ice Bears 5-2 on Saturday at the Civic Coliseum.
The Ice Bears have dropped three straight games in as many days. Knoxville outshot Fayetteville 56-33.
Brian Bowen put Fayetteville ahead first on a breakaway goal at 5:26 of the opening period. Josh Victor found Tim Kielich in front of the crease by himself for a one-timer at 16:33 to give the Marksmen a 2-0 lead at the first intermission.
Michael Santaguida made his first appearance of the season in goal for Knoxville to begin the second period in place of Hayden Stewart. Stewart finished with seven saves.
Frankie Melton extended Fayetteville’s lead on the power play with a one-timer from the right circle off a crossing pass from Alec Marsh in the opposite corner at 3:56 of the second.
Ricky Kramer got Knoxville on the board at 9:46 with a blast from the blue line that beat the left pad of Wojtala on the power play at 9:46.
Melton scored his second of the night just 38 seconds later to push Fayetteville’s lead back to three. Melton carried the puck off the left end line and flipped a backhand over Santaguida’s left shoulder into the net.
Jacob Benson scored from the top of the right circle 55 seconds into the third period to pull the Ice Bears within two. Anthony McVeigh carried the puck into the high slot and fed Benson to his right, where his wrist shot found the right corner of the net.
Marsh pushed in a loose puck in the crease at 12:49 of the third period to close out the scoring. Santaguida finished with 21 saves.
Knoxville will stay home to host Macon on New Year’s Eve. Fayetteville heads to Roanoke on Tuesday to take on the Rail Yard Dawgs.
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.