Mar 2, 2013 6:24 PM by IceGators
Lafayette, Louisiana--IceGators coach Kevin Kaminski frequently talks the need for his team to play gritty, greasy, and solid IceGator hockey. Friday night's 3-1 win over the Columbus Cottonmouths might be the textbook example of that brand of play. Louisiana was dominant in all aspects of the game. They blocked shots, they killed penalties, and thanks to Jordan Boyer's two first period goals, they gained momentum and never looked back.
"I thought it was a hell of a game," Kaminski said afterward in the locker room. "We came out a little flat and they scored a nice powerplay goal. We picked up the pace in the last ten minutes of the first period. We had a lot of great second effort on the ice. The boys played with a lot of character, heart, and were absolutely relentless."
The most impressive part about the IceGators play was their defense and goaltending. The IceGators held Columbus to three shots on goal in the second period and 17 total in the game. Louisiana's front five blocked thirty other shots before they could reach the net. Goaltender Breton Lindoff, who was recently called up from the Federal Hockey League, was solid between the pipes, making key saves during the Cottonmouths' offensive flurries.
The IceGators special teams were also spectacular. Louisiana went two-for-five on powerplay opportunities. The IceGators penalty kill unit held Columbus to only one powerplay goal in seven chances.
"That was probably our stingiest defensive game this year," Kaminski said. "We were strong on the puck and eliminated turnovers. We had great track pressure, which allowed our defense to protect the blue line. We had good gaps. We won a lot of battles on the walls and the net fronts. We took pride in a lot of a little things, and those little things turned into a big victory."
For the second night in a row, Columbus opened the scoring. Mark Thorburn took advantage of a powerplay opportunity to give the Cottonmouths their only lead of the night at the 4:24 mark of the first period.
Boyer scored his first goal on a powerplay at the 14:09 mark of the frame after taking a centering pass from Matt Robertson. Boyer's second goal came on a wide open net with 29 seconds remaining in the frame after a Mark Thorburn check on Kirk Byczynski drew the Cottonmouth defense away from the puck.
The IceGators tacked on an insurance goal at the midway point of the third period. Jordan Foreman made it a 3-1 game after scoring on a powerplay.
The IceGators get a day off before returning to the Frozen Swamp for their final home game of the regular season. They host the Mississippi Surge Sunday at 3:05 P. M. Kaminski says he and his team hope to give their fans one last hurrah in the Cajundome before the playoffs.
"We need to stay consistent and have the mental toughness to get the win Sunday," Kaminski said. "All 18 guys need to be on the same page and be willing to do whatever it takes to win."