Jan 4, 2013 11:44 PM by IceGators
Lafayette, Louisiana--The Louisiana IceGators have been looking for a statement victory all season long. They may have finally earned it by defeating the Fayetteville FireAntz 4-3 in a seesaw battle. The teams traded goals throughout evening, but it was Weston Cydell's score--the first of his career--at 12:26 in the third period that sealed the win over the team currently sitting atop the SPHL standings. Cydell also picked up an assist in the game.
The IceGators (15-8-1) and the FireAntz (17-8-1) play again tomorrow night in the Cajundome. Game time is 7:05 P. M.
"I thought we played pretty solid, especially defensively," said IceGators Coach Kevin Kaminski. "We only gave up 25 shots, and we didn't have too many breakdowns. Yet, I thought we had another gear in us, and we seemed to be too timid to shift into it. I don't know if it was because we were playing the first-place team or what, but they found a way to win, and they got it done."
Kaminski also credits his team's efforts in practice to their recent successes. "We've been working on defensive zone coverage, and I think we're getting better," he said. "The guys are more confident in their assignments. Guys are getting down and sacrificing their bodies to block shots."
The defensive improvements are evident. The IceGators held the FireAntz, a team that is averaging 32 shots per game this season, to only 25 shots. Fayetteville managed only five shots in the second period. The few times the IceGators defense broke down, goalie Riley Gill shut down the FireAntz offense with one spectacular save after another.
Matthew Robertson scored the first two IceGator goals of the night. He opened the scoring at 10:10 in the first period. Mike Gurtler tied the score nearly three minutes later. Robertson gave the IceGators a 2-1 lead midway through the second. Three minutes later, Bobby Reed evened the score. Jeremy Boyer put the IceGators ahead 5:00 into the third frame, but Fayetteville responded a few minutes later with a goal from Anthony Bergin. Robertson would have a hand in the game-winning goal, contributing an assist to Cydell's score.
Kaminski says Robertson is stepping up to fill a void left by Denny Kearney. Kearney, the team's leading scorer, left the team to play earlier this week to play in Germany. "We traded for (Robertson) to help our offense," Kaminski said. "With Kearney leaving, there's going to be more time for somebody else. Robertson stepped up, and he's a natural goal scorer. That's what we expect him to do."