Feb 28, 2013 11:37 PM by IceGators Media Relations
All season long, the Louisiana IceGators have played games that flowed and had a definitive rhythm. Thursday night's game against the Columbus Cottonmouths was an exception to that rule. Both teams engaged in a see-saw battle which saw three ties and three lead changes. In the end, a Jeremy Boyer goal with 3:06 remaining in the game sealed a 5-4 victory for the IceGators.
The teams will return to the Cajundome Friday night for a rematch. The contest is scheduled to begin at 7:05 P. M.
"The guys persevered tonight," said IceGators coach Kevin Kaminski. "Even though we got down 2-0, we played a good first period. We had 14 shots and 15 hits, but we had two glaring turnovers that gave them their offense. As he old hockey term goes, we served them pizzas up the middle, and they took advantage."
Levi Lind took full advantage of those turnovers and gave the Cottonmouths a 2-0 lead early in the game. Lind scored his first goal 62 seconds into the contest and followed it up with another at the 10:30 mark of the frame. The IceGators bounced back with goals from Troy Ofukany and Matt Robertson to tie the match before the first intermission.
Josh Duplantis scored his first goal of the season early in the second period to give the IceGators a 3-2 lead. Corey Bellamy evened the score only a few minutes later.
"We were very flat in the second period," Kaminski said. "They took it to us. Josh's goal was a big one for us. He did a good job driving to the net. Then we gave them another goal off a turnover with nobody in front of the net."
The IceGators found a second wind entering the third period. Shawn McNeil scored a powerplay goal five seconds into the frame on a designed play to put the IceGators ahead by one. Matt Gingera scored a powerplay goal of his own at the halfway mark of the period to tie the score at 4-4. Boyer scored the golden goal on a two-on-one opportunity after taking a feed from Matt Robertson.
"The boys give a very, very solid effort in the third," Kaminski said. "We prided a lot of the little things. The boys sacrificed their bodies and blocked a lot of shots."
Kaminski also praised McNeil and Jeremy Boyer for their work on the IceGators' fourth goal. "Boyer had great patience," he said. "Robertson did a good job serving as a decoy to allow Boyer to score the goal."
Kaminski still found areas in which his team needs to improve.
"We took too many offensive zone penalties late," he said. "We lost our composure and became undisciplined. Nonetheless, we found a way to win at home. Now we have to play simple, relentless Gator hockey. We have to be consistent and keep sacrificing our bodies."