KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Knoxville Ice Bears and Pensacola Ice Flyers open their three-game semifinal series tonight at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum. The series is a tale of two teams; Knoxville was one of the hottest teams during the mid-stages of the season but scuffled to the finish line, while Pensacola finished 5-4-0-1 to claim the third seed.
Final Regular Season Records:
Knoxville Ice Bears: 24-14-3-1, 52 points, second in SPHL
Pensacola Ice Flyers: 18-18-2-4, 42 points, third in SPHL
Series Schedule: (Home Team in BOLD CAPS and all times local):
Game 1 – Wednesday, May 5 – Pensacola at KNOXVILLE – 7:35 pm ET
Game 2 – Friday, May 7 – Knoxville at PENSACOLA – 7:35 pm CT
*Game 3 – Sunday, May 9 – Pensacola at KNOXVILLE – 5:00 pm ET
* => If Necessary
Season Series Recap:
Knoxville and Pensacola played eight times during the regular season, with Knoxville winning five of the eight matchups.
During the season series, Jacob Benson, Austin Plevy, and Anthony McVeigh each led the Ice Bears with four points, while netminder Austyn Roudebush had a 4-1-0-0 mark, with a 1.38 goals against average, .954 save percentage, with a shutout.
For Pensacola, Jake Wahlin led the Ice Flyers with eight points against Knoxville (5G, 3A). Both Jake Kupsky and Jack Perry combined to go 2-0-0-1, with a 1.21 goals against average, with a .945 save percentage.
How Knoxville Wins:
The IceBears defense and netminding have been strong at times this year against Pensacola, holding the Ice Flyers to two goals or less in four of the eight games in the regular season series. They’ll need the tight defense and solid goaltending to come back, as well as get timely offense from Benson/Plevy/McVeigh to defeat Pensacola.
How Pensacola Wins:
The Ice Flyers have been built for this moment – with a roster that has multiple Peoria Rivermen on it, solid netminding, and timely offense. You cannot go wrong with either Kupsky or Perry in net, but for the Ice Flyers to win this series, they will need to have Jake Wahlin going offensively. If he is going, it will drastically deepen the Ice Flyers’ offensive depth.