IceBears shake off the flu and take home the victories
Having lost the last 3 out of 4 home games, Knoxville needed to regain their home ice advantage and prove why they are the best in the Southern Professional Hockey League with the last two games (SPHL). Their chance came on Friday night as the IceBears hosted the Macon Trax.
Macon scored first when Dominick Dawes (24) slapped the puck past Terry Dunbar half way into the first period. It was only 4 minutes later while on a power play that K.C. Caudill dumped one past Terry Denike to even the score at 1-1. That goal was the first time they had made a score in over 92 minutes of playing time.
The second period saw team captain K.J. Voorhees give Knoxville the lead. Penalties were high as 42 minutes were served between the two teams.
At one point Macon’s Tom Wilson came off the bench and attacked Curtis Menzul, having taken offence to the huge check that Menzul had put on Lou Dimasi. Knoxville’s Dean Moore can to his teammates aid and was ejected from the game for it.
Tom Wilson received a game misconduct for his actions which infuriated IceBears coach Jim Bermingham. Referee Austin Zerkle blew the whistle on the coach and gave him an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, leaving Knoxville to kill off a power play. The Bears successfully held onto their lead into the 3rd period.
Craig Miller of Macon tied the score back up at 4:19 into the final period of the game but Knoxville suddenly exploded into action. It seemed that the flu that had been plaguing the team was finally gone as both Mike Craigen and Marcus Forsberg scored a goal a piece only minutes from each other. Forsberg’s goal ended any hope that Macon had at beating the once invincible at home IceBears.
The IceBears went home with their heads held high and 4,028 fans praising the return of the IceBears they knew and loved.
Saturday pitted Knoxville against the Jacksonville Barracudas. Jacksonville had just come off a 10-5 victory over the Winston-Salem Polar Twins just the night before and was looking to take down Knoxville too. Fortunately for Knoxville that wasn’t going to happen. The newly returned Craig Desjarlais gave the IceBears an early lead by scoring his first of two goals of the night at 10:38 in the first period. Team captain K.J. Voorhees added another goal 3 minutes later to put the IceBears over Jacksonville by two goals. The 2nd period saw Knoxville explode on the ice. Jacksonville’s goalie Randy Hevey was unable to handle the barrage of shots that the IceBears were throwing at him as he gave up 4 goals, each within a few minutes of each other.
Even Knoxville defender Liam McCarthy got in on the action as he scored 2 back-to-back goals and proved that he isn’t just a “boring defenseman.” James Ronayne looked like a trained acrobat as he blocked shot after shot, sometimes stopping multiple shots in just a few seconds.
The air smelled of a shutout as the 2nd period came to a close and Knoxville held a 6-0 lead over Jacksonville. Ronayne continued his acrobatics well into the 3rd as Jacksonville tried in vain to make a comeback.
With 4 minutes left to play and Jacksonville on a power play it was Darren Partch who skated in front of Knoxville’s goal and fired a shot that went over Ronayne’s right shoulder as he dove to block it.
The goal would prove to be too little too late as Knoxville successfully defended their goal and ended the game with a shot fired on goal that Ronayne caught in the center of his chest right as the buzzer sounded.