The Columbus Cottonmouths got off to a fast start against the visiting Knoxville Ice Bears on Military Night at the Columbus Civic Center.
But the Ice Bears came roaring back with a four-goal second period to take their second win of the young season over the Snakes.
Knoxville's 4-3 victory improves its record to 2-1 while the Snakes drop to 1-3.
The night after spotting Huntsville a four-goal lead, the Snakes drew first blood.
Former Ice Bear Dan Bremner scored his first goal as a Cottonmouth, with assists from, Ian McNulty and Jason Gray, to put Columbus on top 1-0 at the 14:25 mark of the first period.
Knoxville quickly evened the score just over three minutes into the second period. Phil Bronner scored the first of his two goals and the first of three in a row for Knoxville.
Three goals in a 6:02 span put the Ice Bears ahead 3-1 midway through the second period.
But the Snakes came roaring back to tie the score 3-3 late in the second.
Three different Cottonmouths lit the lamp and five different players assisted on the goals.
Matt Gingera scored the Snakes' lone power play goal of the evening at the 13:37 mark, assisted by Jason Gray and Chris Bailer. The Knoxville lead was down to a single goal.
It didn't take long for the Cottonmouths to score the equalizer. Just 1:08 later, Tory Allan, assisted by Mike Switzer and Tom Maldonado tied the score 3-3.
The Ice Bears scored the game winner on the power play. The Snakes' Daniel Amesbury, who exchanged pleasantries with Knoxville captain David Segal all evening, was tangled up with Segal in the Snakes' zone. Segal held both Amesbury and his stick, but referee Ken Anderson only called Amesbury for cross-checking after he retaliated. It was a costly power play goal for the Snakes and the difference in the game.
One of the goals scored by Knoxville in the second period was the result of a questionable decision by Snakes goaltender Andrew Loewen. With the Ice Bears leading 2-1, Loewen moved way out of the net to clear the puck. Instead of going to one of his teammates, the puck went directly on the stick of Knoxville's Peter Neal who scored unassisted for a two-goal lead.
The second period featured not only six goals, but chippy play by both teams. Amesbury and Segal dropped the gloves in the first, followed by a rare fight by Levi Lind with Nathan Peterson. In the second, there were no official fights, just a lot of hard hitting and pushing and shoving after the play.
The Ice Bears outshot the Snakes 30-21. The Cottonmouths managed just four shots on goal in the final period.
The make their first long road trip to Bloomington to face one of the SPHL's new teams. The Thunder and Cottonmouths meet next weekend for games on Friday and Saturday nights.
Saturday at the Civic Center
Knoxville 0 4 0--4
Columbus 1 2 0--3
First period--1, Columbus, Bremner (McNulty, Gray) 14:25. Penalties--Valliquette, Knoxville (fighting) 6:05; Aide, Columbus (fighting) 6:05; Amesbury, Columbus (interference) 7:58; Amesbury, Columbus (fighting) 14:27; Segal, Knoxville (fighting) 14:27; Peterson, Knoxville (fighting) 14:41; Lind, Columbus (fighting) 14:41; Bremner, Columbus (unsportsmanlike conduct) 17:42.
Second period--2, Knoxville, Bronner (Van Vliet) 3:02; 3, Knoxville, Bronner (Power, Klaver) 8:51 PPG; 4, Knoxville, Neal (unassisted) 9:32; 5, Columbus, Gingera (Gray, Bailer) 13:37 PPG; 6, Columbus, Allan (Switzer, Maldonado) 14:45; 7, Knoxville, Power (Satim, Bronner) 16:50 PPG. Penalties--Segal, Knoxville (unsportsmanlike conduct) 4:39; Klaver, Knoxville (cross-checking) 5:50; Lind, Columbus (high-sticking) 8:34; Van Vliet, Knoxville (hooking) 12:53; Amesbury, Columbus (cross-checking) 15:50; Schoeneberger, Knoxville ( holding, roughing) 17:34; Switzer, Columbus (roughing) 17:34; Gingera, Columbus (butt-ending double minor) 19:37; Higgins, Knoxville (holding) 19:37.
Third period--None. Penalties--Vandenberk, Knoxville (interference) 2:24; Columbus bench minor 8:06.
Shots on goal: Knoxville 6-18-6-30. Columbus 10-7-4-21
Power plays--Knoxville 2 of 6; Columbus 1 of 6
Goaltenders: Loewen (loss) 59:04, 30-26 ; Hince (win) 60:00, 21-18.
Referee--Anderson. Linesmen--Rawn, Winkler.