The Knoxville Ice Bears started their season off with a bang as they would put together a third period comeback and defeat the Evansville Thunderbolts 5-4.
“I love this team. They are working hard every single shift, they have a no quit attitude and I know it’s a cliché but teams don’t come back from things like that so it speaks volumes for our leadership group” said Ice Bears head coach Jeff Carr
The party would get started early as Liam Kerins would find the back of the net on an unassisted goal at the 9:03 mark in the first period.
Things started to go downhill for the Ice Bears as Evansville would tally four unanswered goals (three in the first period and one in the second). It started to look grim inside Knoxville Civic Collesium but a spark was added by Charlie Granath as he would be in the right place at the right time and score before the end of the second to give a little momentum in the Ice Bears locker room.
“We weren’t playing structured to start, and when you don’t play structured in this league then it is going to be a long night” said Carr
With Carr making a switch at goalie to Michael Santaguida in the third period, it would be up to the offense to get things going trailing 4-2.
The time was not on the Ice Bears side but with 9:50 remaining in the game, Lucas Bombardier would bring the Ice Bears back within one after a nice offensive sequence from Vojtech Zemlicka and Joe Tolles. 41 seconds later, the game would be tied at 4-4 after an Anthony McVeigh net burner.
Overtime seemed likely as the final ticks on the clock started to fade away, but Bombardier decided he wanted to leave early. With the clock under a minute, Bombardier would go one on one with the goalie Ian Sylves and blow it past him with only 54 seconds left on the clock.
“I knew that once he [Bombardier] had the puck rolling that he was going to bury it. He is a clutch player and he’s going to be a huge key for us this season” said Carr.
“I felt good on that play. I couldn’t get the puck to stop rolling so I knew that I was going to shoot” said Bombardier.
The Ice Bears would hold on to win the game after an impressive display of goaltending from Santaguida and a big stand from the defense. The Ice Bears would out shoot the Thunderbolts 35-28 and would only give up one shot on goal in the third period.
“As much as we have to work on, its just a couple of details. We can come back in here, watch some video and some guys need to look at the video to see where their mistakes are” said Carr.
With their four unanswered goals, the Ice Bears earned themselves three points and will bring a little momentum into their matchup with the Roanoke Rails tomorrow.
Knoxville Ice Bears will travel to Roanoke to take on the Rail Yard Dawgs. Join the Ice Bears fans at Crown and Goose to catch all the action live through SPHLLive.com on their three big screen TVs.