Fayetteville Observer staff report
Fayetteville got two goals from Rob Sich and Mike Brown made 37 saves as the FireAntz upended playoff-bound Knoxville, 5-4, on Wednesday night.
The Crown Coliseum crowd of 4,709 saw Fayetteville beat the Ice Bears for the third time this year to improve to 14-27-5 in the Southern Professional Hockey League. Knoxville, which clinched a postseason berth last weekend, dropped to 26-13-4.
Kyle Frieday's first goal of the season gave Fayetteville a 1-0 lead through the first period. Sich then added his 14th and 15th goals of the season in the second, with the latter coming on a power-play opportunity and giving the Antz a 3-2 edge.
Knoxville's Kyle VanderMale tied the game at 3 at 7:49 of the third, but Jesse Cole put the Antz back on top just 30 seconds later. Mike Forgie's power-play blast gave the Antz a 5-3 cushion with 5:01 left in regulation.
The Ice Bears cut the deficit to 5-4 when coach Mike Craigen pulled goalie Kyle Rank for an extra attacker and got another goal from VanderMale.
The FireAntz return to action Friday, when they host first-place Augusta.