IceGators alone atop standings
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Sometimes its better being lucky than good.
The Louisiana IceGators, despite having a lethargic offense for most of the game, pulled through and defeated the Huntsville Havoc 1-0 in overtime.
For the second consecutive night, Jeremy Boyer scored the game-winner. His goal came at 2:30 in the extra frame off an assist from Kirk Byzcynski.
The victory puts the IceGators (19-8-1) in sole possession of first place in the SPHL standings. They return to action next weekend during a two-game road trip to take on the Fayetteville FireAntz.
IceGators Head Coach Kevin Kaminski says only one person is responsible for the win.
"We owe (goalie Riley) Gill big time," he said. "Thanks to him, we picked up a very ugly road win. If it weren't for him, the game would have been a blowout. He was absolutely outstanding."
Kaminski also lashed out at the rest of his squad.
"Everybody else on the team was out standing on the ice and doing nothing," he said. "We can be happy and enjoy being in first place, but we can't be satisfied with our effort tonight."
Huntsville was the aggressor for most of the game. The Havoc launched 24 shots in the first period and outshot the IceGators 33-12 in the first two frames. Otherwise, the teams were evenly matched statistically. Both teams were spectacular on the penalty kill, with Louisiana killing five Havoc powerplays and Huntsville stopping four IceGator advantages.
In addition, goalie play was outstanding on both ends. Gill stopped 42 shots during the contest. Huntsville goaltender Dan McWhinney saved 26 of Louisiana's 27 shots.
The squads were also chippy, racking up a total of 120 penalty minutes — including 88 minutes worth of penalties in the second period. A scuffle at the end of the period resulted in three players from each side drawing roughing and misconduct penalties, inflating the number of penalty minutes recorded during the contest.
Kaminski emphasized that his team must play much better if it wants to hold on to the league's top spot.
"We've worked hard to be where we are," he said. "But we have to be much better than this if we want to stay there. But it makes for a nice, fun bus ride home and a good week of preparation for a big weekend against Fayetteville."