Local sports talk show hosts say the lack of support from fans pushed Cuonzo Martin away from Vol Nation.
KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The Knoxville Ice Bears hopes for an SPHL championship took a serious blow on Thursday night with a 3-2 loss to Pensacola in game one of their best-of-three league semifinal series.
Knoxville entered the game as the hottest team in the league, winning thirteen of their last sixteen games, and sweeping Columbus out of the quarterfinals with two shutout wins.
Scoring goals for either team proved to be a challenge on Thursday at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum.
An Ice Bears mistake helped Pensacola break a scoreless tie mid-way through the second period.
After turning-over the puck in their own zone, the Ice Flyers capitalized with a goal from Matthew Good to make it 1-0 Pensacola.
A third period goal by Joel Caveney made it 2-0 Pensacola.
The Ice Bears broke their scoring drought when Peter Neal made it 2-1.
Less than a minute later, Dan Buccella scored to make it 3-1 Pensacola.
The Bears made it 3-2 on a goal from John Higgins, but the scoring stopped there.
Knoxville goalie Bryan Hince, stopped 54 consecutive shots in the playoff series with Columbus, turned away 27 in Thursday night's game with Pensacola.
The series heads to Pensacola for games on Saturday, and if necessary, Sunday.