Sports

Mar 27, 2013 11:56 PM by IceGators Media Relations

Big Third Period Propels IceGators to Playoff Opening Win

The Louisiana IceGators returned to form Wednesday night. Not only did they snap a four-game losing streak, but they won in the dramatic fashion fans have come to know. The IceGators allowed a three goal lead to evaporate to a one-goal advantage before Robert Short scored to seal a 7-5 victory in the first game of the SPHL quarterfinals.

The IceGators lead the three-game series 1-0. The IceGators will travel to Southaven, Mississippi, for game two. That contest will take place Friday night at 7:05 P. M.

"That was a huge win for us," said IceGators coach Kevin Kaminski. "It's a sigh of relief. We needed that game."

"I think our attitude, our energy, and our compete level was so much better than it has been. Our care factor came back. The boys were hungry, and they came to play tonight."

Mississippi took early control of the game. Mike Hayward scored 51 seconds into the contest to give the RiverKings a 1-0 lead. Jeremy Boyer tied the game one minute later off assists from Short and Clark Byczynski. The RiverKings took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission thanks to a Matt Whitehead goal midway through the frame.

The IceGators responded in the second period by scoring two goals on four shots. Troy Ofukany and Josh Duplantis picked up goals to give the IceGators a 3-2 lead after the second period. Shawn McNeil tacked on another goal at the beginning of the third period to give the IceGators a two-goal lead.

"We didn't get the start we wanted," Kaminski said. "I told the boys to stay composed because we were looking good. We responded with a great countershift, which allowed Boyer to score. We had some good chances in the first two periods. We stuck to the game plan and played our game."

The RiverKings would not go away quietly. Kyle Lundale scored midway through the frame to cut the Louisiana lead to two. The IceGators regained the three-goal advantage a couple of minutes later when Matt Robertson scored. Mississippi pulled within one when Daniel Barczuk and Darrell Stoddard scored back-to-back goals late in the frame. The Short goal, however, put the nail in the RiverKings' coffin.

"When you get to a one-goal game, you don't want the guys to panic," Kaminski said. "You just tell them to relax and make strong puck decisions. Short made a great move on the breakaway to score that goal. That said, he nets to work better to get open, find the puck, and crash the net."
Although Kaminski was pleased with his team's performance, he says his team still needs to work on a few fundamental areas of the game.

"I don't think our communication was good enough late in the game. We gave up one too many turnovers, and we watched the puck too much tonight."

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