Ice Bats End Bat Cave Run in Style, 4-3
The Ice Bats sent the Bat Cave out in style. Defenseman Aaron Schneekloth's game-tying goal with five minutes remaining, and Aaron Davis' game-winner with 2:17 left propelled the Ice Bats to a thrilling 4-3 come-from-behind win over Odessa Saturday night in the final game ever at the Travis County Expo Center. Despite plenty of chances on both sides, neither squad was able to generate more than a one-goal lead. Odessa's Mike Rutter opened scoring on a backhander to the shelf 66 seconds into the game, but Austin's Dan Carney looped in the tying goal from near the right boards at the four-minute mark. A Sebastien Thinel goal midway through the opening period pushed Odessa to a 2-1 lead after one. The Ice Bats outshot the Jackalopes 16-4 in a scoreless second period, then tied the game on a Schneekloth power play goal, scored on a tip low in the right circle. With eight minutes remaining, Odessa forward John Kozoriz stole the puck at center, and fought off a defender for a breakaway goal. But Schneekloth tied the game again on a slap shot from the left wing. Davis then sent the crowd of 6,244 into a frenzy, tapping a Darryl McArthur centering pass out of midair over Odessa goalie Derek Dolson's right shoulder for the winner. Schneekloth and Davis both finished with three points, and goaltender Miroslav Kopriva stopped 26 of 29 shots faced. With the win, the Ice Bats (26-24-3) finish with a 19-10-1 home record at the Expo Center this season, and a 209-97-22 all-time mark. More importantly, the Ice Bats remain two points ahead of Rio Grande Valley, and move four points ahead of Amarillo in the Southern Conference playoff race. Displaced by the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo, the Ice Bats will play their next seven games on the road, before hosting two games March 17th and 18th at the Bell County Expo Center in Belton. Then beginning with the 2006 Playoffs, the Ice Bats will relocate to Chaparral Ice Center, on I-35 South just south of Wells Branch Parkway.
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Central Hockey League Stories from February 25, 2006
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