IceGators Beat Columbus to Snap Losing Streak
LAFAYETTE, La.--A new year has brought a new spark to the Louisiana IceGators.
The IceGators, who looked lethargic in the final three games of 2014, gave their best offensive performance of the season Friday night, defeating the Columbus Cottonmouths 6-4 in the Cajundome, snapping a three-game losing streak.
Benjamin Rubin led the team with two goals, while Jake Hauswirth chipped in a goal and three assists.
The IceGators now head to Southaven for a Saturday-night match against the Mississippi RiverKings. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m.
"I thought it was our best offensive game of the year," said IceGators head coach Drew Omicioli. "The guys bought into the system of outworking other teams with their talent and intensity. We outworked them down low, we made simple plays, and we executed on our chances. We had a few defensive lapses and bad bounces that allowed them to stay in the game, but I felt we controlled the majority of the game.
"I felt it was one of our more disciplined games--even if the scoresheet doesn't reflect it. I think we were on the bad end of a few calls, but we didn't let it get us down, and we kept moving ahead and grinding them. That's the type of team we have to become."
The IceGators and the Cottonmouths traded goals in the first period.
Shawn Bates' unassisted goal 92 seconds into the game gave Columbus the early lead. The IceGators knotted the score at the 14:23 mark when a Jake Hauswirth shot went off a Cottonmouth's skate and past goalie Shannon Szabados. Jeremy Boyer and Mike MacIntyre assisted on the play.
Columbus jumped out to a 2-1 lead 2:28 into the second period when Andy Willigar recorded an unassisted goal off an IceGator turnover at center ice.
The IceGators then went on a tear.
Kirk Byczynski, who was returning from an injury, Adam Stuart, and Rubin all scored in the final 10 minutes of the second to take a 4-2 lead into the second intermission. An unassisted Brett Peppler score 38 seconds into the third period gave Louisiana a 5-2 lead.
Columbus mounted a comeback, as Matt Gingera and Bates each scored midway through the frame.
A Rubin empty-netter with 1:26 left in the game sealed the victory for the IceGators.
"Give (the Cottonmouths) credit," Omicioli said. "They're a hard-working team that capitalized on our mistakes to keep the game alive. We have to eliminate those turnovers and other errors to be a championship team."
Omicioli says he will tweak his systems slightly before Saturday night's game, but his players and fans can expect a similar game plan.
"Offensively, we'll do the same thing," Omicioli said. "We'll fine-tune our defense to eliminate the breakdowns we had. We'll also work on correcting the mental errors that resulted in (Columbus) staying in the game.
"Our goal is to score six points this weekend. Anything less is unacceptable because it's time for us to move up in the standings and prove to everyone else that we are team to be reckoned with. Our physicality tonight was incredible, and we're going to bring that physicality into the game (Saturday) night and for the rest of the season."
• Discuss this story on the Southern Professional Hockey League message board...
Southern Professional Hockey League Stories from January 2, 2015
- Ice Flyers Blitz RiverKings 7-1 to Start New Year - Mississippi RiverKings
- Ice Bears Can't Solve Rivermen - Knoxville Ice Bears
- Louisiana Squeaks by Columbus, 6-4 - Columbus Cottonmouths
- IceGators Beat Columbus to Snap Losing Streak - Louisiana IceGators
- Rivermen Topple Ice Bears Again - Peoria Rivermen
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.