The humid ice level conditions in Lafayette, Louisiana didn’t stop the Knoxville Ice Bears & the Louisiana Ice Gators from putting on a 60-minute show of entertaining playoff hockey Wednesday night before 1,977 fans at the Cajundome.
With the clock ticking down and an extra attacker, the Ice Gators threw everything they had at Ice Bears’ goaltender Bryan Hince and the defensive corps, but in the end it wasn’t enough as the Ice Bears thwarted any comeback and walked away with a gutsy 3-2 road victory in game 1 of the SPHL President’s Cup semi-final best of 3.
With game two & if necessary game three scheduled for Friday/Saturday at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum, the Ice Bears took control of the series behind the strength of goals from Ben Power, Berkley Scott and the eventual game winner off the stick of assistant captain Eric Satim. Goalie Hince was nothing short of spectacular as he turned aside 30 of 32 Louisiana shots to win his second straight start.
“It’s never easy to win a game in someone else’s building this time of year,” said head Coach Mike Craigen, “Louisiana played very hard and I’d say that was the hardest working 60 minutes any team has thrown at us this year. They never stopped coming.”
With a powerplay goal from Power in the 2nd period and an even strength tally from Scott at 8:53 of the 3rd; Satim converted a beautiful 3 on 2 rush for the game winning goal at 14:28 of the 3rd frame. Though the Gators drew within one on a Brett Peppler rebound goal at 15:32, the Ice Bear defensive zone withstood a final push from the Gators and escaped Lafayette with a crucial game 1 victory.
“We will enjoy this about as long as it takes to hit the interstate, then we’ll start looking ahead to Friday. We know it won’t get easier and we’ll have to keep getting better,” said Craigen.
Friday, April 10th is Game 2 in Knoxville at 7:35 EST – Tickets are on sale now and the Ice Bears will be handing out 2015 “white-out” playoff t-shirts to the first 1000 fans, tickets start as low as $5. For tickets or more information visit www.knoxvilleicebears.com or call 865-565-4444.