Lafayette, Louisiana--The Louisiana IceGators have become famous for their late-game comebacks. Sunday night, the IceGators had to defend against an opponent’s comeback, and they did so successfully. Despite three third-period goals, the Mississippi Surge could not recover, and the IceGators held on to win by the score of 4-3. Denny Kearney shined for Louisiana, scoring two goals and recording an assist.
The IceGators have the next two days off for Christmas. They hit the ice again Wednesday night when they travel to Huntsville to take on the Havoc.
“Obviously, it’s a big win because it keeps us in third place,” said IceGators Coach Kevin Kaminski. “It wasn’t out best effort, but we did enough to get the job done. It’s a nice Christmas gift.” Kaminski soon may be delivering presents to his special teams unit. “Those guys were awesome tonight. We picked up several powerplay goals and didn’t give up anything on a penalty kill, so hats off to those guys.”
The IceGators controlled the tempo of the game from the outset. Robert Short scored the lone goal of the first period on a powerplay three minutes into the game off of assists from Matt Robertson and Kearney. Kearney tacked on his first goal of the night five minutes into the second period with a backhanded shot off of a Robertson assist. The IceGators took a 3-0 lead when Shawn McNeil picked off a pass at the blue line and faked out Surge goalie Dan Clarke for a short-handed goal.
The Surge made a furious attempt at a comeback late in the game. Tommy Lange scored back-to-back goals midway through the third period off of assists from Corey Tamblyn to make the score 3-2. Kearney padded the IceGators lead with another powerplay goal with 3:30 left in the game. Jeff Grant put the Surge within one again with about two minutes left in the game. The IceGator penalty kill and defense held off Mississippi’s late surge and held on to the victory.
After the game, Kaminski aired his grievances about his team’s Festivus performance. “We need to improve our overall awareness and make smart and simple plays,” he said. “Our battle level on pucks needs to increase, and our second effort has to get better. Our execution needs to be crisper.”