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Knoxville, TN 1-28-23
Rourke Russell scored twice and the Knoxville Ice Bears defeated the Huntsville Havoc 5-2 Saturday night at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum.
MacDonald had a goal and two assists for Knoxville and Bailey MacBurnie made 29 saves as the Ice Bears won for the fourth time in their last five games. The win was also the 100th all-time for the Ice Bears against the Havoc—the most by any one team against a single opponent in SPHL history.
Bailey Conger struck quickly for Knoxville to give the Ice Bears an early lead thanks to his 10th goal of the year. Brett Ouderkirk had the puck in the slot before it was poke checked off his stick towards the blue line. Conger swept up the puck, skated into the right circle and buried a wrist shot over Nick Latinovich just 1:14 into the game.
Justin MacDonald doubled Knoxville’s lead when Rourke Russell fed him a long pass into the neutral zone. MacDonald sped to the top of the left circle and uncorked a slap shot between Latinovich’s pads at 4:19.
Huntsville cut its deficit in half when a pass across the front of the crease bounced off Alexis Girard and past MacBurnie at 6:21 of the second.
Cole McKechney gave Knoxville a two-goal lead at the second intermission when he muscled the puck off of Chris Jones in the left circle, tapped it to himself between Jones’ legs and split Latinovich’s pads at 16:17 for his fifth of the season.
Tyler Piacentini scored off a rebound 1:16 into the third on the power play to bring the Havoc back to within one.
Russell scored on the power play from the high slot with a wrist shot at 3:46 of the third to give the Ice Bears a 4-2 lead. Russell scored again less than four minutes later with a one-timer up high after some quick passing on the man-advantage created space for him by the left circle.
Knoxville continues its current homestead against Birmingham on Friday night. Huntsville returns home to host Macon on Friday.
ABOUT The Knoxville Ice Bears: The Knoxville Ice Bears organization began in 2002 and was an inaugural charter member of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) in 2004. As four-time SPHL Champions and five-time regular season champions, the Ice Bears are an experienced and established organization, offering the city and its visitors a balanced product of highlight-reel hockey, unique and exciting intermission activity and endless fan interaction, presenting the most affordable, family-friendly way to enjoy sports and entertainment. Season, Partial Season and Flex Tickets are now on sale. For more information, visit www.knoxvilleicebears.com or call (865) 525-7825.