The Louisiana IceGators rang in the new year early with a dominating performance of the Mississippi RiverKings on Monday evening.
Matt Robertson scored two goals — including one 31 seconds into the contest — to lead Louisiana to a 6-3 victory. Denny Kearney recorded a "Gordie Howe hat trick" — a goal, an assist, and a fight — in the first period.
The IceGators return to the Frozen Swamp this weekend for a two-game series against the Fayetteville FireAntz. Both the Friday and Saturday games are scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m.
"This is obviously a great way to end 2012," IceGators coach Kevin Kaminski said According to Kaminski, his team didn't have to look too far for motivation. "The guys responded to the loss in our last game (against the RiverKings) when they beat us in the last second," he said. "We played a strong 60 minutes tonight. I thought we had the moneymakers — our legs — going. Our puck pressure, forecheck, and track pressure were really good.
"Speed kills, and when you're skating and making things happen, you can create a lot of offense, and we did tonight. This is probably the best we've crashed the net all year."
The IceGators scored the first four goals of the night. Robertson and Kearney gave the IceGators a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission. Robertson and Clark Byzcynski tacked on two more goals within the first seven minutes of the second period.
Ian Finnerty put the RiverKings on the board midway through the frame. Jordan Foreman extended the lead back to four just a few minutes later. Darrell Stoddard and Matt Harrington scored for the RiverKings in the third period. Their goals sandwiched one by IceGator Kyle O'Kane. That goal was the first professional goal of O'Kane's career.
Kaminski says his team still needs to work on its consistency and not ease up on opponents late in runaway games
"Mississippi's second goal came on a very good play, but their third goal was the result of a bad turnover on our part," he said. "Overall, though, I thought we were better defensively tonight than it was Sunday in Biloxi. Special teams have been good, but we still have some improvement to do on the power play. We have to get better in all areas."