Knoxville, TN.: Although it was far closer towards the end than they would have liked it to be, the Thunderbolts warded off a late Knoxville comeback and overpowered the Ice Bears 6-4 on Saturday night in Knoxville to win their 4th straight game. The Thunderbolts’ next home game will be on Saturday, January 20th against the Peoria Rivermen, puck drop at 7:00pm CT.
Evansville stormed ahead with a 3-0 lead midway through the first period, on goals from Vadim Vasjonkin, Benjamin Lindberg, and Aiden Wagner; Vasjonkin’s goal at 10:14 off a net-front skate deflection was assisted by Wagner and Harrogate. Lindberg’s goal, his first professional goal, deflected in off a Knoxville skater at 11:04, assisted by Mark Zhukov. Wagner’s goal at 11:46 off a 3-on-1 rush was assisted by Brendan Harrogate and Vasjonkin. Shortly after Wagner’s goal, the Ice Bears got on the scoreboard as Logan Coomes scored at 12:15 to make it 3-1. On 4-on-4 play late in the period, Nick Prestia scored off the rush to extend Evansville’s lead to 4-1, assisted by Myles Abbate at 16:56.
In the second period, Michael Douglas picked up his first goal by shooting a puck that deflected and arced its’ way over everyone and into the net to make it a 5-1 game at 1:56, assisted by Prestia. The Ice Bears did not quit and started to chip away at Evansville’s lead; At 6:21, Mathieu Boislard cut the lead to 5-2, and at 16:36, Tyler Rollo trimmed the lead further to 5-3. Just over a minute into the third period, Rex Moe removed the comfort level entirely, making it a 5-4 game only 54 seconds into the final period. Evansville’s defense was crucial down the stretch to keep the lead, and with 7 seconds remaining, the Thunderbolts put the game away as Lincoln Hatten scored into the empty net from about 100 feet up ice for his first professional goal, 6-4 Evansville the final score.
Wagner, Prestia and Vasjonkin each scored one goal and one assist, while Hatten, Lindberg and Douglas all finished with one goal, all three of them being the first goals in their professional careers. Harrogate tallied a pair of assists on the night, while Cole Ceci stopped 28 of 32 shots faced for his 11th win of the season. The Thunderbolts and Ice Bears meet again on Friday, February 2nd at Ford Center.
Individual game tickets and group packages are on sale for this 2023-24 season. Season tickets for the 2023-24 season are also on sale. Call 812-422-BOLT or visit our all-new website (www.evansvillethunderbolts.com) for details.
About Evansville Thunderbolts: The Evansville Thunderbolts is the area’s only professional hockey team. The Thunderbolts are a proud member of the SPHL. The team is owned and operated by VW Sports, L.L.C, a subsidiary of VenuWorks, Inc. www.evansvillethunderbolts.com