LAFAYETTE — When the Louisiana IceGators twice stared down a two-goal deficit against Fayetteville and a potential two-game sweep on Sunday afternoon, Brad Bourke’s burst of energy brought them back from the brink.
Bourke helped the Gators overcome a 3-1 hole at the Cajundome by scoring the game-tying goal and the eventual winner in overtime in a 4-3 IceGators victory.
“That is a win that can change a season,” IceGators coach Drew Omicioli said. “That was a huge character win. Guys fought to the end and were rewarded.”
The reward appeared to be out of reach when Nick Lazorko put Fayetteville on top 3-1 with 8:19 remaining in the third period. However, Vladyslav Gavrik scored to narrow the gap before Bourke evened the score on the Gators’ 40th shot of the game — a slapshot from just inside the blue line that beat Fayetteville goaltender Parker Van Buskirk with 1:49 left.
Bourke kept that momentum going in overtime when Jeremy Boyer sped toward the net to attempt a shot on a play that was finished off by Bourke.
“Bourke was phenomenal. This was a huge two points and we needed it,” Omicioli said.
The FireAntz (10-2-1) started their attack quickly in their third game in three days. Less than three minutes into the contest, Josh McQuade scored on Fayetteville’s first shot by finding the back of the net on a wrist shot. Joseph Manno cashed in a power play opportunity for a second goal when he took a pass and beat IceGators goaltender Adam Courchaine to make it 2-0 with 7:34 left in the opening period.
The IceGators held a 9-6 shot advantage after 20 minutes but faced a two-goal deficit.
A power play late in the first period that carried over to the early stages of the second period helped get the IceGators offense kick-started. John Daniels beat Van Buskirk with 18:57 remaining. It was the first goal Van Buskirk allowed this weekend on the heels of shutouts Friday over the IceGators and a Fayetteville victory Saturday night against the Pensacola Ice Flyers.
“It was their third game in three nights, and we wanted to be physical,” Omicioli said. “That worked. We were due. Another loss would have played with guys’ emotions.”
The IceGators (6-7-2) will continue a December stretch of seven of eight at home when they face Pensacola Friday night at 7:05.