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Jagger Williamson had a goal and two assists in a losing effort as Knoxville fell to Birmingham 8-6 Saturday at the Pelham Civic Complex.
Knoxville had a four-game win streak snapped with the loss. Birmingham has won three in a row.
Birmingham scored just 13 seconds into the game when Dylan Johnson’s shot from the right circle bounced off Kristian Stead’s pad and Mike Davis followed up the rebound to put the Bulls ahead early.
Davis Ross scored at 1:22 to make it 2-0 with a one-timer from the top of the left circle. Taylor Brierly scored from a sharp angle one minute later to end Stead’s night with just one save on four shots against.
Troy MacTavish beat Bailey MacBurnie with a backhand to make it 4-0 less than five minutes into the game.
Dino Balsamo scored on the power play at 10:09 to get Knoxville on the board. Williamson kept a clearing attempt in the zone, skated to the high slot and fed the puck to the right side of the crease, where Balsamo redirected it past Austin Lotz.
Williamson scored with a slap shot from atop the right circle at 16:47 to cut the deficit to two. Tanner Salsberry won the puck off the right wall and slipped it to Williamson, who beat Lotz up high as the shot made its way through traffic.
Matt Wiesner scored from the right circle to extend Birmingham’s lead to three goals again at 18:20.
Justin MacDonald slipped behind the defense in the neutral zone and Williamson made a long stretch pass to him to enter the zone. MacDonald lifted a backhand over Lotz to end a wild first period with the Ice Bears trailing 5-3 at the first intermission.
Zac Masson and Davis scored 47 seconds apart early in the second period to open up a four goal lead again. MacBurnie was pulled and Stead was put back in net following Davis’ goal.
Colton Fletcher scored with a wrist shot from the right circle to make it 7-4 at 5:20 of the second.
Chris Peters found a rebound on the left side of the crease and put it back on net to make it 8-4 at the second intermission.
Rex Moe and MacDonald scored a minute apart late in the third to cut the deficit to two, but back-to-back penalties against the Ice Bears kept Knoxville shorthanded down the stretch and couldn’t cut into the lead any further.
Stead finished with 26 saves for Knoxville. MacBurnie had 12 saves. Lotz stopped 34 shots for Birmingham.
The two teams will meet again back in Knoxville Friday night at the Civic Coliseum.
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 www.knoxvilleicebears.com or call (865) 525-7825.