Nov 3, 2013 11:49 PM by IceGators Media Relations
Lafayette, La.-- Bret Peppler earned his first goal of the year on the biggest play of the night for the Louisiana IceGators. The rookie from Rhein, Saskatchewan, sent a wrist shot past goalie John Griggs to score the game-winning goal with about four minutes left in regulation to push the IceGators past the Pensacola IceFlyers 4-2.
Matt Robertson added an empty netter with 20 seconds left in the game to secure the IceGators' win.
This victory gives the IceGators (4-1) sole possession of the first place in the SPHL standings. They return to the ice Wednesday night when they host the Mississippi RiverKings in the Cajundome. Game time is 7:05 p.m.
"It was a very hard fought game between two really good teams," said IceGators head coach Kevin Kaminski. "They have a hell of a team in Pensacola. I have to give my guys credit for keeping (center Paul) Rodrigues, (left wing Joe) Caveney, and (right wing Mitchell) Good at bay. (Jeff) Grant's line really did a good job of smothering them."
The IceGators special teams unit was once again spectacular. The IceGators went one-for-five on powerplays and two-for-two on the penalty kill.
Louisiana's first goal came on a powerplay early in the first period. Jeremy Boyer scored off of assists from Matt Robertson and Chris Wilson six minutes into the frame. Pensacola responded about four minutes later when Mark Thorburn deflected a Keegan Flaherty shot past IceGator goaltender Matt Zenzola.
The IceGators regained the lead near the 10-minute mark of the third period when Shawn McNeil deflected a Kirk Byczynski shot into the net. Pensacola tied the score again only 20 seconds later when Flaherty scored off assists from Rodrigues and Caveney.
"Our attitude was great the entire game," Kaminski said. "We wanted this game. We knew first place was on the line. We kept our nose to the grindstone, dug deep, and found a way to win."
Kaminski says his team will get some rest Monday before returning to practice on Tuesday. He says his team has to remember the little things that have carried them to the early lead in the SPHL standings.
"We have found our identity," Kaminski said. "We need to remember what our identity is to stay successful. The RiverKings added a couple of guys and won both of their games this weekend. They are going to be a much better team than when we saw them last week."
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