LAFAYETTE — In their quest to add scoring punch in advance of a meeting with the Mississippi RiverKings, the Louisiana IceGators brought aboard forward Zac Frischmon from Fayetteville in exchange for Ben Rubin.
“(Friday) was the first day I got to see Zac practice, and he has tremendous skating abilities,” IceGators coach Drew Omicioli said. “Most of the hockey players from Minnesota are typically very good skaters. He demonstrated that, and he has a great release. The fact that we only play one game this weekend will give him an opportunity to jump in there and learn the systems real quick. But then we basically have a full week to get some practice and go against the same opponent again. That is definitely in our favor.”
The IceGators (10-13-3) will face Mississippi at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at the Landers Center before the teams square off again in a couple of contests next weekend.
Mississippi is an opponent the Gators have had some success against with a 3-1 mark in four games. The RiverKings won the most recent meeting, 3-1, on Jan. 7.
“Getting a guy with speed will make you that much more dangerous on the back check, and then when we get the puck and you start moving forward,” Omicioli said. “Zac will bring a lot to this series. Mississippi tends to counter very quickly as if they are anticipating. It’s great when you do read it. But when you don’t ... defensively you are stranded. Having a guy with some solid wheels that can either capitalize on a turnover or get back on a bad turnover is crucial against a team like Mississippi.”
Considering the Gators rank last in the league in goals scored with 61 through 26 games, the hope is Frischmon will not only create his own opportunities but also open up space for his linemates by providing another threat that opponents have to account for. In 24 games with Fayetteville, Frischmon had 11 points (six goals and five assists).
Defenseman Jordan Ciccarello was loaned to South Carolina of the ECHL. To help offset the absence of Ciccarello and Nicholas Kuquali (on loan to Evansville of the ECHL), the Gators will call upon Ben Kramer, who had been with the Brewster Bulldogs of the Federal Hockey League. “Kramer is a smaller guy (5-foot-9, 175 pounds) for a defenseman, but he has tremendous speed and moves the puck well,” Omicioli said.
Goalie Adam Courchaine is still in the process of recovering from a concussion with his return expected soon. Brad Barone has continued to handle the goaltending duties.
“We have not been giving up a lot of goals,” Omicioli said. “If we can score three goals a game, we will win a lot of games because we can hold teams to two or less.”