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Ice Bears Go Down Swinging in Huntsvilledate: 10/16/2010
Ice Bears Go Down Swinging in Huntsville
Huntsville, AL - The Knoxville Ice Bears fell short in an intense, hard fought game that rostered only two returning starters. Frank Furdero and Travis Hanson led a fresh crop of eager new comers in to the belly of an eight year rivalry.
Exhibition games are utilized to filter the gems from the dirt. Unlike years past, both teams have hit the jackpot with the selection of talent showcased tonight.
From the drop of the puck, the Ice Bears took the play to by establishing a physical presence. Despite the physicality, Huntsville struck first at 4:26 of the first period on a goal by Kamil Vavra.
Ice Bears drew even 6:27 later on a tally by first year pro Chris Pontes sending the teams deadlocked after one period.
Highly touted NCAA goalie Brian Hince turned away the only four shots faced until midpoint of the second period. As customary in exhibition games, goalies split the game giving head coach Mike Craigen an opportunity to see each in a game situation.
Free agent camp stand out goaltender Andrew Luckow, stepped in cold off of the bench second period giving up two goals 24 seconds apart. Once settled a minute into his Ice Bears debut, Luckow cemented a worthy performance by barricading the Ice Bears' crease for the remainder of the game.
Thirty seconds after Huntsville's final goal of the evening rookie Chris Bratina drew Knoxville within one on an unassisted goal.
"The compete level the Ice Bears showed this evening was amazing. These players are fighting tooth and nail to secure a roster spot. I am very impressed with Mike and Kevin's (Swider) recruiting effort this season. Tomorrow's game will be even better as these guys are playing in front of our fans," said general manager Mike Murray who managed the bench allowing Craigen to evaluate from the stands.
Trailing by one after two periods, the Ice Bears came out with a purpose. Tightening up the defense and forcing the play. The intensity boiled over at the 9:13 mark when Knoxville's Ryan Hitchcock squared off with Havoc rookie Tanner Shultz. Despite quality opportunities neither team was able to find the back of the net.
"Very hard working group of guys wearing Ice Bears jerseys tonight. I never accept losing, even in pre-season, but I was happy with the way the boys played tonight. Our fans back home should be extremely excited to see this group back on home ice Saturday," said Craigen
These same two teams meet up in Knoxville on Saturday at 7:30 pm. $7 tickets are available by simply updating your social media status with "Going to see the Ice Bears, Saturday, October 16, 2010 @ 7:30 pm - Knoxville Civic Coliseum". Print out the update and use it as a coupon for $7 for any available seat in the building. Otherwise regular pricing apply.