KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (release) -- The Knoxville Ice Bears extended their perfect home record tonight against the Columbus Cottonmouths. It was the first regular season meeting for the two teams for the 2011-2012 campaign. A crowd of 4,161 watched as the Ice Bears defeat the Cottonmouths in overtime for a 4-3 victory.
Columbus threatened early when Knoxville was forced to kill of a lengthy 5 – 3 Cottonmouths’ advantage. At 8:08 mark of the first period Steve Wiedler was called for hooking followed 49 seconds later by Kyle VanderMale for a high stick.
The Cottonmouths struck first when Levi Lind bounce the puck past Ice Bears’ netminder Bryan Hince at 13:25 into the period. Three and a half minutes later Eric Satim shot past Columbus goalie Ian Vigier to tie the game at 1. The tying goal was assisted by Captain Kevin Swider and SPHL defensive leader Mark Van Vliet. The first period dominated the shots by outshooting the visiting Cottonmouths, 17 to 6.
The Ice Bears wasted no time in breaking the tie. 46 seconds into the second period Berkley Scott wristed a laser shot over the shoulder Vigier to take the lead 2-1. The goal was assisted by Swider and Emery Olauson.
The tables turned on the Ice Bears during the middle stanza, Columbus outshot Knoxville 15 - 5. Despite the fury of activity only one of the fifteen shots found the back of the net to tie the game at 2.
Knoxville severed the tie again when Swider brought the puck down the left side and passed to Scott who redirected it to Olauson. Olauson knocked it in for a 3-2 lead 6:14 minutes in the third period.
Columbus fought back to tie the game again on the power play. Tyler Fletcher was serving time for hooking and on a delayed call to Wiedler for slashing, Columbus pulled their goalie for a sixth man. Bret Tyler blasted the puck past Hince to knot the game at 3.
Without determining a winner after 60 minutes of the play, the game shifted to a 3-on-3, 5 minute, sudden death overtime. 1:19 minutes in the extra period, Slais bounced the puck in off Vigier’s leg as he was fading away from the net. The game winning goal was assisted by Satim and Ricky Helmbrecht. Knoxville won their fifth consecutive home game 4-3.
The next home game is Friday, Nov. 18. Come cheer on the Ice Bears as they take on the Augusta RiverHawks for the first time this season. Puck will drop at 7:30 for Pride in America Night with a teddy bear toss after the first Knoxville goal. Following the game there will be a jersey auction.