Lafayette, Louisiana--The Louisiana IceGators, in what may have been their strongest all-around performance of the year, beat the Mississippi RiverKings 4-1. The IceGators established their defensive presence early in the game, allowing only 7 shots in the first period. Dan Earles, in only his fifth start of the season, stopped 26 shots.
The IceGators opened the scoring at the 12:33 mark of the first period. Brayden Metz took a feed from Josh Boyd and put it past RiverKing goalie Scott Darling to capitalize on a powerplay. Two minutes later, the RiverKings evened the score with a Ken Selby goal. After that, it was all IceGators. The lone goal of the second period came almost five minutes into the frame when Josh Boyd scored off of a centering pass from Josh Duplantis. August Aiken (unassisted) and Robert Short (Jordan Oye and Alex Morton) tacked on two insurance goals in the third period to give the IceGators a three-goal buffer.
“It was a solid 60 minutes,” said head coach Kevin Kaminski. “We played our systems real well. We did a good job keeping shots from coming from the outside.” Kaminski was also critical of his team. “I don’t think we played well in the first two periods,” he opined. “We were sluggish. We didn’t move our feet.” Kaminski added that Saturday’s rematch is the biggest game of the year thus far. “We have to be greedy. If we don’t win, we don’t accomplish anything. We want to keep climbing in the standings.” On a personal level, this victory was huge for Kaminski, who coached the RiverKings from 2008 to 2010. “Anytime you play against your old team and beat them, it’s a little bit of sweetness.”
The IceGators physical play also cost them a player during the game. Midway through the third period, Louisiana’s Josh Duplantis was sent off with a game misconduct for boarding. He also incurred a fighting penalty on the same play. According to Kaminski, the league will review the boarding call to see if it will warrant a suspension.
The IceGators improve to 7-6-1 on the season. They will travel to Southaven, Mississippi, tomorrow to take on the RiverKings in the second game of this weekend’s series.