Bourke Completes IceGator Comeback against Fayetteville
LAFAYETTE, La. - The Cardiac Crocodilians are back.
Brad Bourke scored twice--the game-tier with 1:49 left in regulation and the game-winner 1:36 into the overtime--to seal a spectacular IceGator comeback to beat the Fayetteville FireAntz 4-3. The win snaps a six-game home losing streak and avenges an overtime loss to Fayetteville in the Cajundome two weeks ago.
The IceGators return to action Friday night when they play the Pensacola IceFlyers in the Cajundome. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m.
"This is a character win," IceGators head coach Drew Omicioli said. "The guys stuck together until the very end, and they were rewarded for it. We put up 43 shots tonight and peppered (Fayetteville goalie Parker Van Buskirk) with more than 80 shots over the weekend. We were due, and I'm so proud and happy for the boys. Another loss would have started playing with their emotions."
The IceGators appeared to score the first goal of the game 90 seconds into the contest, but the referee waved it off because of a high stick.
Fayetteville the captured the momentum, capitalizing on IceGator turnovers to take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. John McQuade put on an offensive clinic, scoring both goals off IceGator turnovers. His first goal came on a one-on-one opportunity, shooting from the slot and banking the shot off both goal posts and into the net. The second goal--a power play score--was the result of a beautiful fake-out on IceGator goalie Adam Courchane following an ice-long pass from Van Buskirk.
"Our passes were sloppy, and we weren't handling the puck well," Omicioli said of the first period. "There were pucks hitting the tape and bouncing off the sticks. That usually means the guys are gripping the sticks too tight, and that happens when you're in a slump."
Louisiana cut the deficit in half 63 seconds into the second period when John Daniels used three dekes to put the puck past Van Buskirk.
Nick Lazorko gave the FireAntz a 3-1 lead with 8:19 left in regulation after Adam Courchane misplayed an odd-angle shot that never elevated off the ice.
The IceGators began mounting their comeback late in the third period. Vladyslav Gavrik cut the score to 3-2 with 3:39 left in regulation when he went top shelf after shooting into traffic from the slot. Nearly two minutes later, Bourke scored the first of his two goals off a shot from the point to force overtime, where he completed the comeback by taking a shot from directly in front of the net.
"This is one of the games that can change the season," Omicioli said of the win. "I told the guys that the first segment of the season is over and that they started with a clean slate tonight. Our game plan was to go in and be extremely physical, and our game plan worked. Bourke played phenomenally. I was also proud of (defenseman Travis) Armstrong for standing up for the team tonight."
Omicioli also had high praise for the opposing goaltender.
"Van Buskirk played phenomenally again tonight," Omicioli said. "You have to give him credit again. Tonight, we really took it to him. Putting up as many shots as we did in the second and third period, we had to find away to show our killer instinct, but we were only average again."
The IceGators were also only average at best on the power play, failing to score on a four-minute powerplay--the majority of which was spent in a 5-on-3 advantage.
"We just have to keep working on it," Omicioli said. "We must have had 15 shots on the power play. Daniels had an opportunity, and it rolled off his stick. Mentally, they're aggravated. They've got the lowest power play percentage I've ever seen, but they'll click. We're close to making it click."
In the meantime, the IceGators are happy to get a win at home and to get rid of a monkey that's been on their back for more than a month.
"We're going to take this win and put together a streak," Omicioli said. "We have one game next week, and we'll take advantage of this momentum.
Images from this story
Louisiana IceGators Fight with the Fayetteville FireAntz
Louisiana IceGators Eye Fayetteville FireAntz Goal
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