MACON, Ga. – The Knoxville Ice Bears finished second to the Macon Mayhem to cap the SPHL regular season. They get a potential shot to overtake Macon in the postseason, as it begins this week. Here’s a look at the Ice Bears.
Knoxville Ice Bears
Record: 24-14-4, 52 points
Post-Season Outlook: Other than Macon, Knoxville has been the SPHL’s best team this season. As a result, the Ice Bears enter the postseason against the third-place team in the SPHL to begin the President’s Cup Playoffs. A win there sets up a possible showdown for the title with the Mayhem.
What’s Going Right: It all starts in goal with Austyn Roudebush. He came aboard in Knoxville in late February, and he has been one of the SPHL’s top goalies since. At one point, he won ten games in a row, posting three shutouts in the stretch and not giving up more than two goals. It’s not a coincidence that in the month of March, Knoxville lost just one game. In addition to the goalie play, the Ice Bears are neck and neck with Macon in goals scored and second to the Mayhem in goals against. It all starts with the play of Jacob Benson, whose 31 points is sixth in the league and his 19 goals ranks second. Austin Plevy, with the Ice Bears by way of Evansville having opted out for the year has also been stout. Like Benson, he has 31 points. Andrew McLean is also one of the SPHL’s top-scoring defensemen, ranking fifth with 16 points. The Ice Bears have also been among the best on special teams, rated second on the power play and first on the power kill. Knoxville has also done well protecting leads, being a perfect 18-0-0 when leading after two periods.
What Needs Work: There’s a whole lot to like about the Ice Bears, especially if they can fire on all five cylinders as they did in the month of March. If Roudebush stays healthy, this team has a great chance of hoisting the President’s Cup.