KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knoxville Ice Bears begin their quest for a fifth President’s Cup tonight, Wednesday, May 5, at the Civic Coliseum against the Pensacola Ice Flyers.
The 2nd-seeded Ice Bears finished the regular season on a sour note losing their last three games, including two to the Ice Flyers, but will look to bounce back in the best-of-three series.
Knoxville finished the regular season 24-13-3-1 and were 5-3 against Pensacola this year.
The two teams boast the two best goal scorers in the league. Knoxville right winger Jacob Benson and Pensacola left winger Darren McCormick lead the Southern Professional Hockey League in goals with 20 each. Benson has played in nine fewer games, 32, compared to McCormick, 41.
The Ice Flyers also boast the third highest goal scorer, Jake Wahlin. He has 19 goals in 37 games. Whalin and McCormick and are both top five in points in the league.
Benson (20 goals and 11 assists) and center Austin Plevy (12 and 19) are seventh and eighth, respectively, on the league’s point list.
The two teams also made roster moves Sunday.
The Ice Bears released Josh Koepplinger and placed Isaac Johnson on waivers. They also signed Connor Fries. Fries returns to Knoxville where he scored two goals earlier this year. The center returns from the Columbus (Ga.) River Dragons where he played 21 games and helped the team win
the Ignite Cup Championship in the Federal Prospects Hockey League.
Pensacola placed defenseman Skler Smutek on waivers and signed defenseman Christian Hausinger to replace him.
In the other semifinal No. 1-seed Macon Mayhem will travel to No. 4-seed Huntsville to face the Havoc on Thursday.
No. 1 Macon Mayhem vs. No. 4 Huntsville Havoc
Game 1 – Thursday, May 6, at Huntsville 7 p.m.
Game 2 – Saturday, May 8, at Macon 6:30 p.m.
Game 3 – Sunday, May 9, at Macon 4 p.m. (if necessary)
No. 2 Knoxville Ice Bears vs. No. 3 Pensacola Ice Flyers
Game 1 – Wednesday, May 5, at Knoxville 7:35 pm
Game 2 – Friday, May 7, at Pensacola 7:35 pm
Game 3 – Sunday, May 9, at Knoxville 5 p.m. (if necessary)