Nick Neville scored 2:46 into overtime and the Peoria Rivermen defeated the Knoxville Ice Bears 3-2 Sunday afternoon at the Civic Coliseum.
Knoxville maintained a three-game point streak despite the loss in collecting 5 out of a possible 6 points this weekend. The Rivermen snapped a two-game skid.
After Mitchell McPherson’s shot was blocked by Anthony McVeigh on the left side, Neville flipped the puck with his backhand over Cody Porter into the net to give the Rivermen the lead for the third and final time of the day.
The Ice Bears forced the extra period with Gehrett Sargis’ goal at 13:47 of the third. Josh Pietrantonio won a wall battle on the right side of the Peoria zone and an initial shot was blocked by Eric Levine before a second try bounced off a body and into the net.
Alec Hagaman swatted the puck down at the Knoxville blue line to avoid being offsides, skated the puck into the right circle and centered it to McPherson, who lifted the puck over Cody Porter from the slot to give the Rivermen a 1-0 lead at 6:29 of the first.
Knoxville tied the game 44 seconds later with Riley Christensen’s power-play goal. Tucker Ross shot the puck from the left circle and Levine stopped it in the crease. The initial follow-up try was blocked and the puck slid out to the right circle, where Christensen slapped it in for his seventh goal of the year.
Peoria regained the lead nine minutes into the third with Paul Fregeau’s goal off a face-off in the Knoxville zone. Jordan Carvalho pushed the puck forward from the dot and Fregeau lifted a quick shot by Porter on the short side post to give the Rivermen a 2-1 lead.
The Ice Bears were 1-5 on the power play. Peoria failed to convert on three extra-man opportunities. Porter made 24 saves for Knoxville and Levine had 31 stops on the day.
Knoxville heads to Birmingham on Tuesday night to take on the Bulls. The Rivermen return to Peoria and will host Evansville on Thursday.
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.