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Murdaca shines in return as Ice Bears win

Joe Murdaca made 26 saves in his return from the ECHL for his league-leading fourth shutout of the season and the Knoxville Ice Bears beat the Macon Mayhem 2-0 Tuesday night at the Civic Coliseum.

The Ice Bears snapped a three-game skid with the win. Macon has lost four straight.

The Ice Bears jumped out in front with Brady Fleurent’s sixth goal of the season at 14:01 of the first period. Gehrett Sargis slid a pass through the neutral zone to Fleurent, who had slipped behind the defense for a breakaway. Fleurent made a deke through the slot and lifted a backhand over the right pad of Kevin Entmaa.

Dwyer Tschantz doubled Knoxville’s lead late in the second period with a goal from the left circle at 18:51. Bryce Nielsen carried the puck into the zone on the right side and found Tschantz across the slot. Tschantz’s shot beat Entmaa low to give the Ice Bears a 2-0 lead at the second intermission.

Entmaa finished with 28 saves. Both teams struggled on the power play. Knoxville finished 0-6 on the man advantage. Macon was 0-5.

Like Murdaca, Tschantz was also playing in his first game for Knoxville since returning from the ECHL. The goal was his third of the season in his sixth game for the Ice Bears.

Knoxville will start 2020 with a road trip to Evansville on Friday. The Mayhem return to Georgia and will host Pensacola Friday night.

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.

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