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Knoxville scored four goals in the third period and the Ice Bears pulled away from the Vermilion County Bobcats 7-1 at David S. Palmer Arena in Danville Friday night.

It’s the third straight win for Knoxville, which set a season-high for goals in a game. The goals were scored by seven different players. 

Vermilion County struck first when Gianni Vitali slipped the puck from behind the net through the crease and in front of the net. Davis Kirkendall was waiting for it and beat Alec Calvaruso at 7:25 of the opening period. 

Knoxville tied the game with Ryan Devine’s first goal of the season midway through the first. Justin MacDonald won a face-off in the left circle back to Devine at the point. Devine left the puck for Brady Fleurent at the top of the circle. Fleurent’s shot from the high slot bounced off of Brett Epp and Devine cleaned up the rebound when the puck bounced to the left side.

MacDonald gave the Ice Bears the lead with a pinpoint shot from the left side at 15:25. The puck was lifted from behind the net out to the perimeter where MacDonald collected it. He skated to his left and released a slap shot that Epp never saw as it made its way through traffic into the top shelf of the net.

Knoxville added to its lead when Fleurent finished off a 2-on-1 at 10:27 of the second. Tanner Salsberry poked the puck free as Vermilion County was entering the zone and MacDonald picked it up and carried it in transition to create the odd-man rush. MacDonald slid the puck across to Fleurent, who buried it high for his 14th goal of the season.

Jagger Williamson notched his first of the season by banking the puck off of Epp’s back from behind the net just 34 seconds into the third. Bailey Conger scored at 4:01 to make it 5-1.

Nick Pryce blocked a shot at the right point and raced down the left wing to collect the loose puck for a breakaway. Pryce swept across the front of the crease and forced Epp to bite on the play to create an open net. Pryce finished with a backhand for his third goal of the year. Cam Hough scored with 22 seconds remaining to round out the scoring detail. Calvaruso finished with 29 saves. 

The two teams will face off again Saturday night in Danville.

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