RiverKings Win, Sweep IceGators
LAFAYETTE, La. - The Louisiana IceGators' playoff run ended as quickly as it began.
The Mississippi RiverKings came into the Cajundome and scored the first four goals of the night en route to a 5-2 win over the IceGators and a two-game sweep in the SPHL President's Cup Quarterfinals. Leo Thomas led Mississippi with two goals.
"We beat ourselves," IceGators head coach Drew Omicioli said. "We gave them three of those goals, but I have to give them credit. They executed on their opportunities, and we didn't.
"They looked stronger than (we did). Losing as many players as we did (because of injuries and call-ups) hurt us. I'm proud of what our team leaders and the young guys who came in brought us. They worked their (butts) off, but we had too many rookie mistakes. We can't do that against an experienced team. If you give those guys a chance to score, they will."
The IceGators woes began midway through the first period. Todd Hosmer took advantage of a misplayed puck and scored a short-handed goal at the 12:12 mark of the frame. Cullen Bradshaw assisted on the play.
The RiverKings continued to assert themselves in the second period. Reid Campbell scored five minutes into the period off assists from Bradshaw and Linden Bahm. Five minutes later, Devin Mantha tacked on an unassisted goal. Leo Thomas joined the scoring party at the 13:31 mark off a Ryan Marcuz assist to make the score 4-0.
The IceGators finally notched a goal late in the middle frame when John Daniels scored an unassisted short-handed goal with 5:21 remaining on the clock. Anton Lennartsson added a goal of his own off assists from Jeremy Boyer and Mike Kavanagh with 8:35 left in the game to make the score 4-2.
Thomas put a final nail in the IceGators coffin with 21 seconds left in the game when he scored an empty-netter.
"Mississippi will be a tough team to beat in the playoffs, and I congratulate them," Omicioli said. "Getting Mantha and (goalie Peter) DiSalvo back makes them a better team. They bring leadership and energy to that team. If Mantha had been around the whole season, he probably would have led the league in scoring."
Omicioli says the disappointment of this loss will last throughout the summer and into next season.
"None of us are happy that our season is over, but we know we gave our all," Omicioli said. "The guys who jumped in late battled all the way to the end. I'm proud of them."
• Discuss this story on the Southern Professional Hockey League message board...
Southern Professional Hockey League Stories from April 14, 2016
- Ice Flyers Down Havoc 3-1, Take 1-0 Series Lead - Pensacola Ice Flyers
- RiverKings Move on to Round 2 with 5-2 Rout of Louisiana - Mississippi RiverKings
- RiverKings Win, Sweep IceGators - Louisiana IceGators
- Bartus, Skelly Earn League Recognition - Macon Mayhem
- SPHL Announces First Team Selections - SPHL
- All-SPHL Second Team Announced - SPHL
- Series Preview: Ice Flyers, Havoc Set to Open Playoffs - Pensacola Ice Flyers
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.