Knoxville, TN (team release)– (March 28, 2014) Knoxville took the ice in the Civic Coliseum tonight for their first 2013-2014 playoff game. They are hosting the Louisiana Ice Gators for their first best-of-three series. A crowd of 1,827 watched as the Ice Bears kicked off their playoff season with a 3-0 shutout win.
Knoxville dominated the first period. Brady Vandenberk was penalized 2 minutes for slashing giving the Ice Gators the only power play of the period, but they couldn't push past the Ice Bears defense.
The Ice Bears took a 1-0 lead when Berkley Scott lip the lamp with a one-timer at 8:39 of the first period. David Segal assisted the goal. Vince Perreault increased the Ice Bears lead by beating Louisiana goaltender Kiefer Smiley. Peter Neal and Andrew Dovey assisted on the play. The Ice Bears entered the first intermission leading the Ice Gators 2-0.
The Ice Bears continued their momentum into the second. Just 2:04 into play Neal notched the third goal for the Ice Bears on a tight passing play from Scott and Eric Satim. Knoxville's Bryan Hince stood tall by turning aside all of Louisiana's shots on goal. Segal served a two minute penalty for slashing with 2:10 left in the period, but the man-advantage didn't help the Ice Gators. Knoxville began the final period of play leading 3-0.
The Ice Bears kept their energy up through the third, shutting down all of Louisiana's efforts to find the back of the net. With just 20.6 seconds left in the game, Mark Van Vliet was sent to the penalty box for slashing, giving Louisiana their final power play advantage. Hince ended the game with a final save, and the Ice Bears shut out the Ice Gators 3-0. Hince played a perfect game stopping all 28 shots from the Ice Gators.
The Ice Gators will be back in the Coliseum tomorrow night to play game two in the series. If the Ice Bears take the win in Saturday's game there will be no third game, and Knoxville will move into the second round of playoffs. If Louisiana wins, the teams will play a deciding game three on Sunday. Puck drops on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Get your tickets now and cheer on the Ice Bears as they look to bring the President's Cup back to Knoxville.