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Brendan Pepe blocked a shot with his stick with less than 30 seconds remaining and the Ice Bears couldn’t pull even late in a 4-3 loss to the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs Tuesday night at the Civic Coliseum.

The Ice Bears have dropped three straight games after a five-game win streak. All three losses have come at home.

With Knoxville trailing and the extra attacker on the ice, the puck was sent through the right circle to the crease where Brady Fleurent was able to move it out in front. The puck bounced to Kirill Nizhnikov on the back door, but his shot on an open net went wide when Pepe laid out to get his stick on the attempt.

Steven Leonard put the Rail Yard Dawgs in front for good when a shot from the left side was deflected and came loose in front of the crease. Leonard located the rebound and put it past Cody Karpinski at 13:24 of the third.

Nizhnikov struck first for Knoxville when he fired a wrist shot past Austyn Roudebush at 8:13 of the first. Brendan Dowler broke up a breakout pass on the right wall and the puck came right to Nizhnikov at the top of the right circle. Nizhnikov found the net for his second of the year.

Billy Roche tied the game for Roanoke less than five minutes later. He received a cross-ice pass in the zone at the blue line, skated into the slot and beat Karpinski.

Brady Fleurent gave Knoxville the lead at the first intermission when he scored his 10th of the year with three minutes remaining. Tyler Rollo tied up the puck on an offensive zone face-off. Fleurent skated in and fired the puck immediately to beat Roudebush top shelf on his glove side.

John MacDonald scored the only goal of the second period with a shot from the left point that made its way through traffic and found its way into the net at 6:30.

After Nick Ford gave Roanoke its first lead of the game early in the third, Davis Kirkendall knotted the score when he finished off a three-on-two with a backhand that slipped through Roudebush five-hole.

Karpinski made 40 saves for Knoxville. Roudebush had 24 stops for Roanoke.

Knoxville hosts Fayetteville on Friday. Roanoke welcomes Huntsville Friday night.

ABOUT The Knoxville Ice Bears: The Knoxville Ice Bears organization began in 2002 and was an inaugural charter member of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) in 2004. As four-time SPHL Champions and five-time regular season champions, the Ice Bears are an experienced and established organization, offering the city and its visitors a balanced product of highlight-reel hockey, unique and exciting intermission activity and endless fan interaction, presenting the most affordable, family-friendly way to enjoy sports and entertainment. Season, Partial Season and Flex Tickets are now on sale. For more information, visit or call (865) 525-7825.