Despite playing without their head coach and a furious comeback by their opponents, the Louisiana IceGators avenged their only loss of the season Friday night with a 2-1 victory over the Mississippi RiverKings.
The IceGators (4-1) responded to Mississippi’s punishing style of play with aggressiveness and heavy play that would have pleased head coach Kevin Kaminski. Earlier this week, the SPHL suspended Kaminski for three games due to a roster violation. General Manager Louis Dumont will coach the team through next Friday’s game against Huntsville.
The IceGators return to the ice Saturday at 7:05 for a rematch against RiverKings (3-2) in the Cajundome.
“We didn’t move our feet in the first period,” Dumont said after the game. “We came out in the second period and played with some emotion. We stayed disciplined and got the goals we needed.”
Dumont also spoke highly of his goaltender, Riley Gill.
“Gill made a couple key stops for us tonight. The RiverKings pressed us pretty well in the third period, but Gill stepped up and made the stops to get us the win.”
After a slow, scoreless first period, the IceGators broke open the scoring three minutes into the second. Brett Liscomb’s shot deflected off a RiverKing defenseman and past RiverKing netminder Matthew Krahn. Shawn McNeil and Matt Miller assisted on the goal. UL took a 2-0 at the halfway point of the third period when Denny Kearney scored off a Robert Short feed. Two minutes later, Kevin Willer scored to cut Mississippi’s deficit to a goal, but the IceGator defense held off the late comeback attempt.
The physical play in the final two minutes of the game led to a postgame scuffle between the IceGators and the RiverKings. Dumont says his team must erase the memory of the fight in time for Saturday’s game.
“We have to stay disciplined,” he said. “We can’t retaliate tomorrow.”