12/01/2017 11:20 PM -
As the Thunderbolts returned home for the first of seven games at Ford Center in December, the Knoxville Ice Bears came to town winning three of their last five, including an 8-1 blowout of the Fayetteville Marksmen last night. Goaltending had been Evansville’s strong suit throughout the young season and tonight proved no different as Tomas Sholl would stop all 21 shots against for his first professional shutout during the Bolts’ Teddy Bear Toss Night.
The Bolts would continue their habit of playing strong after opening puck drop, as they have the past couple weekends. At the 6:39 mark, Nick D’Avolio would carry into the zone on the near side, as Tyler Deresky would power past the defenseman and race to the net. D’Avolio would make a tape to tape pass connecting with Deresky for a tipped shot over Zoltan Hetenyi’s shoulder, scoring the opening goal to make it 1-0, and the teddy bears would rain down from the stands by the hundreds as a result, with all going to the local Salvation Army, in time for Christmas. Lee Christensen would pick up an assist on the play — his first professional point in his seventh game with Evansville.
The 2nd period would be full of defense-first hockey on both sides, however a few chances squeaked through on both sides and both goaltenders would stand tall in goal for their respective squads, keeping it a 1-0 game. The 3rd period would see play loosening up, more chances on both sides and more saves as well. Just prior to the halfway point of the third frame, Al Graves and Knoxville’s Tyler Howe would drop the gloves off a Bolts’ offensive faceoff, engaging for between 20-30 seconds, both players losing their helmet during the bout before both went down and skated off for 5 penalty minutes each. Knoxville would fail to capitalize on a power play with six minutes remaining, off of a Tommy Fiorentino boarding call and Evansville would fail to kill off the Ice Bears on a late power play of their own, leading to a closer finish. With just over a minute remaining, Coach Jeff Carr would pull Hetenyi for the extra attacker in a last bid attempt to tie the game, however it would backfire. Deresky would carry the puck into the Knoxville end — and while being watched by David Brancik from the other side of the cage — would feed a one-time shot for Tyler Vankleef, who fired it past the defenseman, making it 2-0, the final score.
For Knoxville, Hetenyi would stop 26 of 27 shots for the loss. For Evansville, Deresky would score a goal and assist, while Vankleef would add the other goal. Sholl would stop all 21 shots against for the victory, along with his first professional shutout. Attendance for tonight’s game at the Ford Center was 2,123.
The Thunderbolts continue their home stand tomorrow night against the Huntsville Havoc, which is also Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Night. The Bolts will wear special themed jerseys which will be auctioned off following the game. Face-off is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. cst.
About Evansville Thunderbolts: The Evansville Thunderbolts is the area’s only professional hockey team. The Thunderbolts are a proud member of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL). The team is owned and operated by VW Sports, L.L.C, a subsidiary of VenuWorks, Inc. www.evansvillethunderbolts.com