By Ken Lay
The Knoxville Knights didn’t win Thursday night. They didn’t even score but they were able to take sole possession of third place in the Knoxville Amateur Hockey Association High School standings.
Knoxville, which won the regular-season championship and made the State Tournament, played the Bearden/Karns Ice Dawgs to a 0-0 tie at the Icearium.
The Knights (1-4-1) were able to earn a tie due to a stellar performance from goaltender Bradley Walker.
Walker, Knoxville’s veteran netminder, made 29 saves against the Ice Dawgs (3-2-1).
“He did an outstanding job tonight,” Knights coach Greg Maine said of Walker, who faced point-blank shots in his battle with Bearden/Karns goalie Braden Ross, who stopped 21 shots from Knoxville. “Bradley was outstanding and we knew that he had to be against a goaltender like Braden.
“We knew that we weren’t going to get many chances against Braden because when he sees the puck, he stops it. We played well tonight after not really competing during the first couple of weeks of the season.”
Ross and Walker may have battled Thursday night but Walker left the ice with after recording a shutout for the second consecutive week. The Knights routed the Knoxville Warriors 8-0 on Thursday, Dec. 10.
“This was a big confidence boost for us,” Walker said. “We beat the Warriors 8-0 last week.
“Both of us [he and Ross] played a great game we just equaled each other out tonight.”
Ice Dawgs coach Aaron Barnes certainly didn’t have any complaints after his team could only salvage a point in the standings after tying the Knights.
“We played well tonight,” Barnes said. “[Walker] just stood on his head. We did everything right tonight.
“I told the players after the game that this game was a lesson about life. I told them that sometimes, you do everything right and you don’t win. But at least we didn’t lose.”
Bearden/Karns entered Thursday’s game after losing to first-place and unbeaten Farragut and the tie left Ross pleased.
“We came in here having battled in a loss to Farragut,” Ross said. “It was good for our confidence that we were able to get a point.”