LAFAYETTE — A burst out of the gate became a gritty battle for the Louisiana IceGators on Sunday afternoon.
The Mississippi RiverKings erased a 4-1 IceGators advantage to take a 5-4 shootout win at the Cajundome.
“I’m extremely frustrated with the way the game played out,” IceGators coach Drew Omicioli said. “We played a solid first period for our third game in three days, and then we dominated the first 12 minutes of the second period.”
A turning point came with 9:36 remaining in the second period when the RiverKings’ Linden Bahm snuck the puck past IceGators goalie Adam Courchaine on a power play. The goal became dislodged, but officials ruled the goal had been scored before play was halted. The IceGators felt the goal should have been disallowed.
“Everybody is developing in this league, including myself (as a coach),” Omicioli said. “All we can do is learn from it and move forward.”
The IceGators (18-18-4) forged ahead with their 4-2 advantage formed on goals from Zac Frischmon, Jake Hauswirth, Luke Sandler and Dylan Hood. But the RiverKings gradually gained ground.
“We were still up two goals at that point, and we need to finish that out,” Omicioli said. “We outplayed them minus a couple of bounces. We outshot them 39-28.”
Mississippi (22-11-6) closed the gap to a goal when Cullen Bradshaw found the back of the net with 5:46 left in the second period.
The IceGators had an opportunity to push the advantage back to a pair when Mississippi’s Ben Woodley was sent off for a 5-minute major penalty (fighting) early in the third period. The IceGators had cashed in a previous power play chance for their fourth goal when Hood finished off a series of passes with a score, but the five-minute man advantage in the third did not result in a breakthrough against RiverKings goalie Garrett Sheehan. “We had good pressure on that fourth goal, and then we had a 5-minute power play that was tough to watch,” Omicioli said.
The RiverKings evened the score at 4 when Bahm scored his second goal midway through the third period. Neither team was able to break free with a decider during the final 10 minutes of regulation and the overtime period. Hood hammered home a shot in the third round of the shootout to put the IceGators on top, but Charles Mosey scored for Mississippi in the fifth round to keep the contest going.
Bahm scored again to give the RiverKings an edge — and when Sheehan stopped Jeremy Boyer, that sealed the win for the visitors. It was the first loss of the weekend for the IceGators after they had won a pair in Huntsville, Alabama.
“This will bother me until we play again next Friday,” Omicioli said. “We lost a point that you have to hold on to. If the guys are frustrated about getting five points this weekend instead of six, that is a positive.”
The IceGators head to Pensacola for a game Friday before they return home for meetings with Columbus and Macon on Saturday and Sunday.