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Ice ’Dawgs second in state

A game-suspension penalty may have kept Bearden from making its Predators Cup showdown a photo finish against Pope John Paul II.

Missing standout player Jay Cox, whose one-game suspension ended his BHS hockey career in a state semifinal win against Mt. Juliet Friday, March 16, “We have a short bench anyway, and losing Jay, we were just shorthanded,” said BHS Ice Dawgs head coach John Cox. “We couldn't maintain the pressure.”

Bearden lost its Predators Cup state title showdown against the Knights 5-1 Saturday in Nashville's Gaylord Entertainment Center.

“I'd like to play them again with all my kids,” coach Cox said. “But they played a great game. They're fast and they move the puck well. They attack the goal well.”

The Knights avenged a 1-0 loss to Bearden at the Icearium in first-round state play March 3, breaking a 1-1 tie with four second-period goals. The Knights led in shots-on-goal 25-17.

Chad Miracle scored on a power play goal in the first period for Bearden, as the defending state champions suffer its first loss and finish 18-1. Andrew Nickels assisted.

Nickels, Knoxville high school hockey's top scorer, personally wiped out Mt. Juliet with four goals as Bearden won 7-3.

The Ice Dawgs took advantage of a five-minute major penalty late in the first period to score three quick goals early in the second frame.

Jeff Slack, Miracle and Jay Cox also had goals. Assists came from Michael Vekasi and Miracle with two each, while Hunter McLees and Sean Verlinde added one apiece.

Coach Cox saluted his strong senior class: Verlinde, Nickels, Cox, McLees, Kevan Elkins, Logan Baker, Vekasi, Alex Folkard and Daane Blocksma.

“All of our seniors have just been troopers for the last four years,” the coach said. “They've been awesome, it's a great graduating class.”


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