Apr 2, 2013 11:44 PM by IceGators Media Relations
Lafayette, Louisiana--The Louisiana IceGators have become famous for their late-game heroics and comeback victories. They got a taste of their own medicine for the first time Tuesday night. The Huntsville Havoc scored three unanswered goals in the third period to claim the first game of the SPHL semifinal series by the score of 5-3. Nick Lazorko scored the game winner with 2:39 remaining in regulation.
Louisiana's Shawn McNeil recorded a hat trick in the first two periods of the game.
The IceGators now travel to Huntsville for the second game of the best-of-three series. That game will be played Friday night at 7:05 P. M. If Louisiana wins that game, the third and final game of the series will be played in the Cajundome Saturday night at 7:05 P. M.
"No one said it was going to be easy," said IceGators coach Kevin Kaminski. "We talked about it yesterday and today that these guys are for real. They had already won two overtime games. They one another close one tonight, so give them credit.
"On our side, some of us didn't have the urgency and desperation tonight," Kaminski added. "We gave them all their offense. Turnovers cost us big time tonight. When you are up 3-2, all you have to do is get the puck out. Why do you want to put your teammates in jeopardy? We did that all night."
Huntsville drew first blood two minutes into the game when Corey Fulton scored off assists from Justin Cseter and Paul D'Agostino.
The IceGators responded quickly. McNeil scored his first goal three-and-a-half minutes into the first with a shot over Havoc goalie Jesse Kallechy's shoulder. Nine minutes later, McNeil went to the net and scored with a shot similar to his first goal.
Huntsville tied the game with about seven minutes left in the first on an Aaron McGill goal. McNeil put the IceGators back into the lead early in the second period with a shot from the edge of the slot that went through the five-hole.
The Havoc waited until the ten-minute mark of the third to begin their comeback. McGill scored his second goal of the night at the halfway point of the frame to tie the game at 3-3. Lazorko's goal came off assists from Fulton and Cseter. Mike Gurtler added an insurance goal on an empty net with 48 seconds remaining in the game.
Although his team has a couple of days to rest and prepare for game two, Kaminski says his players cannot relax.
"We've got to get a winning attitude in the locker room, and we need all 18 guys to be on the same page," he said. "We're going on the road. We don't need to be fancy. We don't need to try to generate a goal on every shift. We need to play a smart game. We need to make plays when they are there."