LAFAYETTE — The power play let Pensacola take command Friday night.
The visiting Ice Flyers went 3-for-11 on extra-man chances and snapped a tie by scoring three times during the first half of the second period in a 5-2 victory over the Louisiana IceGators in Southern Professional Hockey League action at the Cajundome.
“We took way too many minor penalties and they capitalized,” IceGators coach Drew Omicioli said. “You can’t give a team like Pensacola 11 power plays.”
John Clewlow scored a pair of goals in the early stages of the second period before Joe Caveney converted a power-play score to put the Ice Flyers ahead by three with 9:32 left in the second period. Caveney’s goal was the second for Pensacola with the man advantage.
Pensacola (9-6-1) carried the 4-1 cushion into the third period and used another power-play tally to increase the lead. Steve Bergin found the back of the net with 6:35 remaining. Louisiana closed the gap a bit thanks to Ben Rubin’s first score since he returned to the Gators in a trade earlier this week.
“If you are serving penalties for over one period (of game time), no team in the world can win that way,” Omicioli said. “Jeremy Boyer is the heart and soul of our team. He killed off at least 12 minutes of penalty time. But that takes away from his 5-on-5 game because he gets fatigued, like anybody would.”
The Gators (6-8-2) got on the scoreboard first thanks to a goal by Geordie Wudrick with 17:36 left in the first period. Pensacola took advantage of a power-play opportunity nearly midway through the period as Corey Banfield collected his 10th goal of the season by ripping a slap shot past Gators goaltender Alex Vazzano, who was playing in his first game after Adam Courchaine and Eric Levine received call-ups to the ECHL.
“Vazzano had 23 saves on 28 shots — I thought he made some big saves for us,” Omicioli said. “We can’t allow these guys point-blank shots. They beat us 5-on-4. They have our number, but we are allowing them to have our number.”
The teams will face each other again next Friday in Pensacola at 7:05 p.m.