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Andrew Bellant (left), Dino Balsamo (center) and Steven Leonard were all loaned to different ECHL clubs on Tuesday: PHOTOS: Daniel Moore.

The Knoxville Ice Bears had three players called up to the ECHL, coach Jeff Carr confirmed Tuesday. Forwards Dino Balsamo, Andrew Bellant and Steven Leonard were each called up to the Atlanta Gladiators, Indy Fuel and Norfolk Admirals, respectively.

The three transactions now bring Knoxville’s total in-season call ups to six, joining forward Carter Cowlthorp, defenseman Andrew McLean and goalie Jimmy Poreda.

“It’s very important we stay the course,” Carr said of the recent roster attrition. “We need to do our best at handling the controllables and continue to do the simple things extraordinarily well.”

Balsamo leads Knoxville with 23 points on the year. He had a goal and an assist in regulation of Sunday’s game against Roanoke before scoring twice in the shootout—including the game winner—to help the Ice Bears to a 3-2 win.

Bellant is tied for the team lead with 11 goals scored this season, including four game-winning goals. He scored the first goal of the game in Sunday’s win and has 21 points on the season.

Leonard has two goals and two assists in 16 games for Knoxville this year. He has five fights and is third in the league with 61 penalty minutes.

The Ice Bears face Huntsville on Thursday at the Von Braun Center in Alabama. The Havoc sit atop the SPHL standings and are 2-0 against Knoxville this season, most recently defeating the Ice Bears 6-5 in a shootout on November 10.

ECHL Update

Since being called up to the South Carolina Stingrays on November 11, Cowlthorp has appeared in 19 games in the ECHL, scoring five goals and adding an assist with 14 penalty minutes. He’s totaled four points in eight games for Knoxville this season.

McLean has played in 16 games for the Orlando Solar Bears since his call up nearly two months ago. He has a goal and six assists in Orlando after scoring one goal in three games for Knoxville this season.

The SPHL’s leader in goals against average and save percentage, Poreda has appeared in three games for the Worcester Railers since heading to Massachusetts on December 8. Poreda has a 3.38 average and a .899 save percentage with a 1-2 record for the Islanders’ affiliate.

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.