COLUMBUS, GA – Valentine’s Day may be a day for love but there was no love lost at the Columbus Civic Center when the Columbus Cottonmouths hosted their long-time rivals, the Knoxville Ice Bears. Neilsson Arcibal and Preston Shupe were not in the giving mood as they combined for three goals and six points to lead the host Cottonmouths to a 4-1 win.
Columbus was aggressive from the opening faceoff, putting 15 shots on Knoxville goalie Bryan Hince in the first period. Despite the pressure, the Ice Bears got on the board first thanks to a power play when Berkley Scott put a shot behind Cottonmouths netminder Andrew Loewen 4:26 into the contest.
Columbus had an opportunity to tie the score but Hince stopped Matt Gingera on a penalty shot. He was not able however to stop Arcibal just under a minute later off a setup pass from Shupe.
Following a scoreless second period, the host Cottonmouths took control of the contest in the third. Jordan Draper scored the eventual game-winning goal at the 4:50 mark when Sam Bowles set him up for a power play score. A little under two minutes later, Shupe and Tory Allan combined to set up Arcibal for his second score of the game. Shupe later put the game out of reach with a tally off assists from Allan and Arcibal.
With the outcome settled, Columbus’ Alex Gallant and Knoxville’s David Segal put a bow on the night with a spirited battle.
Columbus goalie Andrew Loewen stopped 26 of the 27 shots he faced to pick up the win while Knoxville’s Hince made 33 saves in suffering the loss. Each team scored once on the power play in the contest.