Feb 14, 2013 11:43 PM by IceGators Media Relations
The Cardiac Crocodilians survived another late scare Thursday night in the Cajundome. Despite trailing 3-2 headed into the second period, the Louisiana IceGators scored three unanswered goals to beat the Pensacola IceFlyers 5-4. Shawn McNeil scored twice, including the game-tying goal in the third period.
The victory gives the IceGators a four-point cushion against IceFlyers in the SPHL standings. Louisiana is in the first place with 56 points. Pensacola remains in second with 52 points.
"Thank God the Mardi Gras hangover is over," said IceGator coach Kevin Kaminski. "We played okay in the first period, but we got sloppy in the second. I have to give the guys credit because they responded well in the third."
The IceGators and the IceFlyers traded goals in the first frame. Kirk Byzcynski opened the scoring at the 4:55 mark with a powerplay slapshot from the near point to give Louisiana a 1-0 lead. Two minutes later, Mike MacIntyre tied the game. McNeil regained the lead for the IceGators on another powerplay at the 11:01 mark. Pensacola responded with a powerplay goal of their own. This one came from Ron Cramer at 15:23 in the period.
The IceFlyers capitalized on terrible passing and turnovers in the second. Ryan Raven scored the only goal of the period at the 9:00 mark to give Pensacola a 3-2 lead.
"We tried to be too fancy," Kaminski said. "We didn't have a "meat-and-potato" attitude. We were all fluff and no substance. We needed to turn it up a notch."
The IceGators did increase their level of play in the third, but only after Pensacola missed a golden opportunity to put the game out of reach. Raven missed a penalty shot early in the frame, shifting the momentum back to Louisiana. McNeil tied the game one minute later, while Troy Ofukany scored midway through the frame. Jeremy Boyer added an insurance goal on an empty net with less than a minute remaining to make it a 5-3 game.
Pensacola kept fighting into the final seconds of the game. Mike MacIntyre deflected a Raven shot past Riley Gill to narrow the lead to 5-4. However, Louisiana held on for the victory.
"We seemed to get our mojo back in the third," Kaminski said. "We only allowed one shot in the period until they scored at the end. It was gut-check time, and the boys got hungry and found the desire to win."
The IceGators have a quick turnaround, as they host the Mississippi RiverKings Friday night at 7:05 P. M. in the Cajundome. Kaminski says his team has to be confident after this win.
"We have to be focused and prepared for [Friday]," Kaminski said. "The biggest thing is that we won. We have to have a great attitude and come to the rink crisp. We have to believe in ourselves, the systems, and each other."