Posted: Feb 27, 2013 8:12 AM by IceGators Media Relations
So close, but yet so far away. The Louisiana IceGators almost completed another late-game comeback, but the Mississippi Surge held on for the 4-3 shootout victory. Mark Versteeg-Lytwyn scored the game-winner in the third round of the shootout.
The IceGators host the Surge Sunday at 3:05 P. M. in the Cajundome. Before that, Louisiana will entertain the Columbus Cottonmouths Thursday and Friday at 7:05 P. M.
"Well, it was a big comeback to get a huge point on the road," said IceGators coach Kevin Kaminski. "We were very sloppy in the first period. We weren't skating well, and we gave up a number of turnovers. Our focus and intensity out of the gate needs to get much better."
That sloppy start put the IceGators at an early disadvantage. Kyle Kudroch scored at the 9:38 mark to give the Surge a 1-0 lead. The IceGators responded 24 seconds later. Shawn McNeil scored the first of his two goals off of a feed from Josh Duplantis. Mississippi made scored twice more in the first--once on a powerplay from Joe Harcharik and once from Adam Stuart--to make it a 3-1 game heading into the first intermission.
After a scoreless second period, the IceGators made their move back into the game. McNeil scored a powerplay goal less than a minute into the third to cut the IceGators' deficit to one goal. Kirk Byczynski added a powerplay goal of his own seven minutes later to tie the game at three.
"Once we get zoned in, we play very good hockey," Kaminski said. "We had some great chances to go ahead in the third. Our compete and battle level was great for the last 40 minutes."
Despite the shootout loss, the IceGators extended their lead in the SPHL standings. Louisiana is now two points ahead of Fayetteville and three points ahead of Pensacola with three weeks left in the regular season.
Kaminski says it's time to make this game a distant memory and move on to the next contest. "We just made a great comeback to pick up a point on the road," he said. "Now we need to
get some rest so we can properly prepare for Thursday night. We have to build up our mental toughness and put ourselves in the right mindset for the home stretch."