Ice Bears beat Columbus; lead playoff series

Ice Bears beat Columbus; lead playoff series


6 Sports Director

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The Knoxville Ice Bears turned up the heat on the Columbus Cottonmouths on Friday night and came away with a 3-0 win in the opening game of their SPHL playoff series.

"We've really been playing with that intensity for the better part of two months so we were ready for it," said head coach Mike Craigen after the game.

"I think we really set the tone. We were the thermostat rather than the thermometer. We didn't wait to see what it was going to be like, we went out and set it the way we wanted it to be. We wanted to challenge Columbus and see if they could play with us and we got the result we were looking for."

The Bears took a 1-0 lead in the first period when Matt Pierce scored on a powerplay goal.

Both teams were held scoreless in the second.

Ben Souders gave Knoxville a cushion when he scored on a rebound in the third period.

Souders also added an empty-net goal.

"It was full force the whole game. We were high speed. We matched their intensity the whole way through," said Souders.

"I don't think they had a step on us at any point in time so it's exactly what we wanted and if we play that way nobody can beat us."

Bryan Hince made 19 saves for Knoxville.

The Ice Bears lead the best-of-three series 1-0 and can wrap it up with a win in Columbus on Saturday night.

If necessary, game three will be played in Knoxville on Sunday night.

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