KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Ice Bears returned to the Civic Coliseum Friday night to face off with the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs in their second game of the week. On Wednesday night, the Ice Bears defeated Evansville 7-2. On Thanksgiving Day, Roanoke was defeated by the Fayetteville Marksmen 6-1. Roanoke would need to play with more fire if they wanted to win in Knoxville. The Ice Bears just need to keep their solid gameplay going to get the victory.
Both teams came out of the locker room ready to play in the first period. Roanoke was flying around playing with high energy and trying to start out on the right foot. Knoxville tried to match the energy but it took them a little bit of time to do so. Roanoke would go on the power play halfway through the period and Mac Jansen would find the back of the net to open the scoring. Knoxville would answer quickly when they went on the power play and Jacob Benson was able to beat Ian Sylves to tie the game at one.
After the goal by Benson, Roanoke got back on the front foot. In all of the chaos, Brad Riccardi was able to tip a shot from the blue line and beat Hayden Stewart. Knoxville would try to claw back but always seemed to be a step behind Roanoke. As the first period came to a close, Brian Bachnak and Travis Armstrong would drop the gloves in what would be a very spirited bout before the teams went to intermission.
The second period picked up where the first period left off. Colton Wolter scored early in the middle frame for Roanoke as they kept their hold on the game. However, as Knoxville did in the first period, they would answer on the power play. Lucas Bombardier found Anthony McVeigh with a no-look back hand pass in front of the net that McVeigh was able to put past Sylves to cut Roanoke’s lead to 3-2.
Before Roanoke had a chance to respond, the Ice Bears continued the attack and were able to score again. Scott Cuthrell was the recipient of another great feed from Bombardier that Cuthrell poked past Sylves. Knoxville had tied the score at three and looked to be finding their grip on the game, but Jeff Jones was still able to score and get Roanoke the 4-3 lead. The fourth goal for Roanoke would spell the end of the night for Stewart, as he would be replaced by Joseph Murdaca.
Knoxville would move Gehrett Sargis back to defense and Ricky Kramer to forward in hopes of changing up their game. “I think it injected some life into our game,” said Knoxville Head Coach Jeff Carr. Both teams would continue to press but neither would score before the end of the period, as Roanoke would carry their 4-3 lead into the third.
Knoxville would come out of the locker room on fire to start the third period, and Benson would score again just a little under two minutes into the frame, which helped Knoxville tie the game at 4-4. Roanoke would lock-in after the Benson goal and would stifle the Ice Bears at every turn. Knoxville try to use their incredible pace to cause chaos for Roanoke, but the Rail Yard Dawgs stayed calm and stuck to their game plan. This led to another Jones goal with six minutes to go in the third period.
Knoxville would try and fight their way back like they did earlier in the game. However, this time the Ice Bears ran out of luck. Bobby Watson would snipe one past Murdaca to grow the Roanoke lead to 6-4. Knoxville would pull Murdaca late in the third to try and score, but the move would only cause more damage as CJ Stubbs would score an empty net goal to officially put the game on ice and give Roanoke the 7-4 victory.
Knoxville will look to bounce back from their bad outing against Roanoke when they play the Fayetteville Marksman Saturday night in Fayetteville. When asked about the matchup Carr said:
“They had the day off, so they’re gonna be at a point where they’re ready to go. They’re confident and they’ll try to get on the power play, which is where they’ve done some damage. we gave up a power play goal tonight; I think special teams will be important tomorrow. at the end of the day, I think the team that strikes first and stays on the forecheck will be the better team tomorrow.”
Follow JT on Twitter for news, notes, and analysis on the SPHL’s Knoxville Ice Bears!
Please consider becoming a Patron as a way to say thanks and support us for what we do! https://www.patreon.com/thesinbinhockey