(KNOXVILLE) - The Havoc let a 2-0 lead slip as unassisted 3rd period goals by Jason Lepine, Mike Carter, and Mike Craigen propelled the 1st place Knoxville Ice Bears to a 5-2 victory over Huntsville, Thursday night, at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum.
Emery Olauson stunned the Ice Bears, scoring just nine seconds after the opening face-off of the 1st period. The Havoc made it 2-0 at 11:17 on a power play goal by Kyle Sheen, but the Havoc was just 1-for-7 with the man advantage on the night.
The SPHL's highest-scoring team regrouped, scoring a pair of goals just 54 seconds apart to tie the game in the 2nd period.
Kevin Swider, the SPHL points leader (54) made it 2-1 at 15:55 with a power play goal, assisted by Jason Lepine and Corey Rutt and Mike Carter picked up the first of his two goals when he went around a Havoc defenseman and beat Matt Carmichael in the five hole at 16:49.
The Havoc could not take advantage of an elbowing penalty that ended the 2nd period after Jason deGuehery was flattened by Matt Withers. The Ice Bears killed off the first 2:36 of the five-minute penalty, then had to kill of a too-many-men-on-the ice infraction gave the Havoc a two-man advantage. Still, the Havoc's penalty-killing line held Knoxville 1-for-9 on the night.
Lepine broke the tie early in the 3rd period, outskating the Havoc to a loose puck, then beating Carmichael high to the short side from the low circle for a 3-2 Knoxville lead at 4:37.
Carter, at 5:12, slid a backhander by the Carmichael for his 8th of the season to make it 4-2.
Matt Craigen added an empty-netter, stealing the puck from captain James Patterson, after coach John Gibson pulled Carmichael for an extra attacker with 1:14 to go.
Knoxville outshot Huntsville in every period. Carmichael stopped 31 of 36 shots while Ervins Mustokovs recorded 24 saves.
The Ice Bears improve to 9-1-4 at Civic Coliseum and go to 15-9-4, pushing two points ahead of Columbus.
The Havoc (11-11) fall to last place again, one below Jacksonville with 22 points.
The Havoc host Twin City at the VBC, Friday night, after the UAH-Bemidji State game.