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For more information, contact: Joel Silverberg, Director of Broadcasting (865) 525-7825,

The Knoxville Ice Bears rallied to defeat the Fayetteville Marksmen 3-2 Friday night at the Civic Coliseum. PHOTO: Daniel Moore.

Andrew Bellant scored with 1:13 remaining and the Knoxville Ice Bears rallied from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Fayetteville Marksmen 3-2 Friday night at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum. The Ice Bears (4-1-0) scored twice in the final three minutes of the third period to hand the Marksmen (4-1-0) their first loss of the season.

After Donald Olivieri received a match penalty for slew-footing Stefan Brucato at 15:47 of the third, Fayetteville received a five-minute major. Knoxville took advantage when Jason Price poked a loose puck between Jason Pawloski’s pads at 17:15 on the power play to tie the game at 2-2.

Bellant gave Knoxville its first lead of the game when he received a pass from the right end line at the bottom of the left circle. Bellant’s sharp-angle shot beat Pawloski’s blocker and helped Knoxville win for the third time this year after trailing in the third period.

Kristian Stead stopped 36 shots for Knoxville in his pro debut. The rookie out of Alaska-Anchorage was making his first start since the 2019-20 collegiate season after his 2020-21 year was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taylor McCloy put Fayetteville ahead with a quick snap shot from the slot at 8:16 of the first. Taylor Best fed the puck from behind the net to McCloy, who put it past Stead’s glove. The Marksmen doubled their lead before the first intermission when Drake Glover scored on a wraparound at 15:43.

Knoxville cut the deficit in half at 7:50 of the second with Dino Balsamo’s first goal as an Ice Bear. J.B. Baker carried the puck down the right wing and fed a backdoor pass to Balsamo in the left circle. Balsamo’s one-timer beat Pawloski to bring Knoxville back to within one. Pawloski finished with 27 saves for Knoxville.

Fayetteville nearly extended its lead, but Stead kept Knoxville in the game with a series of big stops in the latter stages of the second period. He stopped a point blank shot from Taylor McCloy and denied a backdoor look from Bryce Ferrell.

The two teams will face each other twice more this weekend. Knoxville will head to Fayetteville to take on the Marksmen at Crown Coliseum Saturday night at 6 p.m. and Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m.

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, 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.