LAFAYETTE — The Louisiana IceGators, after spending the past six weeks playing the road, returned to the Cajundome on Friday night and promptly beat the Huntsville Havoc 3-1.
John Daniels led the team with his first ever Gordie Howe hat trick, scoring the IceGators’ first goal, assisting on the game-winner and brawling with Huntsville’s John Lidgett midway through the game. Adam Courchaine also was amazing, stopping 27 of 28 Huntsville shots.
“Obviously, it’s great to be back home,” IceGators coach Drew Omicioli said. “The crowd was great and loud tonight, and we fed off of that. We needed these two points to keep climbing up the ladder.”
The teams kept the fans roused despite going scoreless in the first two periods, engaging in four fights in the first 40 minutes. The IceGators turned their aggression into goals in the third period.
Daniels put Louisiana on the scoreboard 45 second into the final frame with a quick shot in front of the net off a Jake Hauswirth feed from the low right point.
Huntsville capitalized on a too many men on the ice penalty called against the IceGators midway through the period. Scott Henegar tied the score by tipping in a John Lidgett shot with 9:31 left.
The IceGators bounced back quickly. Luke Sandler scored a beauty of a goal with 2:51 remaining from point blank range off a Daniels feed from the corner.
Jeremy Boyer iced the game with an empty-netter with 1:01 left.
The IceGators and Havoc meet again in the Cajundome at 7:05 p.m. Saturday.