Knoxville, Tenn. (knoxvilleicebears.com) -- The Knoxville Ice Bears took the ice in a sold out Civic Coliseum eager for revenge tonight. The Augusta RiverHawks returned to Knoxville for a rematch after beating the Ice Bears 4-2 on Thursday Feb. 10. Ford broke a period-long tie and the Ice Bears scored 5 goals in the third period to shatter the RiverHawks 6-1.
Augusta’s Travis Dunstall shot the first point of the game 5:12 minutes into the first period. 8 minutes later the Ice Bears made it a tie game. Ice Bears Captain Mike Bulawka made the shot with assistance from Mark Van Vliet and Emery Olauson.
The teams stayed tied at 1 through the period and the Ice Bears left for the first intermission with 13 shots and limiting Augusta to 6.
The rivalry intensified in an aggressive second period. Martin Kubaliak knocked Augusta’s Branden Kosolofsky with a barrage that sent him to the showers early . Jozef Kubaliak was sent to the penalty box for interference and Van Vliet joined him 11 seconds later. But the Ice Bear’s goalie Andrew Gallant held them off through 5-on-3 play and both teams saw a scoreless period.
The teams skated into the third period tied at 1 and both eager for the win. Jason Ford, back for his first game off the injured list, shattered the tie just 22 seconds into the period. Tyler Fletcher shot but Augusta goalie Jon Olthuis deflected and bounced the puck stick side. Ford was right there to knock it in and move the Ice Bears to a 2-1 lead.
From then on the Ice Bears dominated the third period. 5:30 minutes after Ford’s goal, Fletcher caught the puck from Dan Buccella and Dan Mercer and shot it right between Olthuis’s legs to boost the Bears to a 3-1 lead. Bulawka followed with his second goal of the game. With assistance from Olauson and Frank Furdero, Bulawka put the Ice Bears up 4-1.
Then half-way through the period, Olauson tallied his 27th goal of the season on a power play assisted by Eric Slais and Mike Tuomi. The teams exploded in a brawl resulting in 11 penalties including 6 game misconducts.
The Ice Bears scored one last goal to finish off the game. Fletcher scored an unassisted power play goal to earn his second point of the night and finish off the game with a 6-1 defeat over Augusta.
Join the Ice Bears at their next home game on Friday Feb. 18 for the annual Miss Ice Bears finals. The Ice Bears will take on the Fayetteville FireAntz.
Mercedes-Benz 3 Stars of the Game:
1st Star: Mike Bulawka
2nd Star: Emery Olauson
3rd Star: Andrew Gallant