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Ice Bears Edge out IceGators

February 6, 2016 - Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) - Louisiana IceGators News Release

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Sometimes, it's just not your night.

In the case of the Louisiana IceGators, Friday night was another reminder of how cruel the game of hockey can be.

The Knoxville IceBears rallied back from a 2-0 deficit to beat the IceGators 4-3 in the Civic Center. Garrett Vermeersch led the IceBears, scoring their first two goals of the night.

The IceGators and the IceBears play again Saturday night at the Civic Center at 7:35 p.m. EDT.

"This is a tough loss for us," said IceGators head coach Drew Omicioli. "We controlled their aggressiveness for the first five minutes of the game, and then we took control. We scored two big goals back-to-back, but somehow we took that positive energy and completely got away from the game plan.

"Four individual errors led to those four goals. You have to give Knoxville credit because they stayed tough all night and capitalized on our mistakes. That seems to be a common theme with our club this season--play hard for the majority of the game and then play as individuals when we have a lead."

After a scoreless first period, the IceGators came alive to take an early second period lead. Blake Hietala scored off a Mike Kavanaugh feed at the 4:46 mark of the middle frame. Fifteen seconds later, Luke Sandler doubles the IceGators' lead when he scores off a Jeremy Boyer helper.

The IceBears roared back, taking the lead before the end of the period. Vermeersch scored his two goals--the first, at 6:04, and the second, on a power play at 10:03--to tie the game. Zack LaRue gave Knoxville the lead at the 12:39 mark off assists from Jason Price and Rich Ledy.

The IceGators bounced back early in the third period, knotting up the score when Jake Hauswirth scored a power play goal off a Sandler assist.

Knoxville would not be denied. Danny Cesarz scored the game-winner unassisted with 17:55 left in regulation.

Omicioli says the only reason his team is not competing or a top playoff seed is because of self-inflicted wounds.

"This team is close to being great," Omicioli said, "but until we give 110-percent effort for 60 minutes, we are going to remain in the position we're in."

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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