LAFAYETTE — Being on home ice continued to contain some hard moments for the Louisiana IceGators on Thursday night.
The Gators fell to 3-8-3 at the Cajundome thanks to a 3-1 loss to the Mississippi RiverKings that included a game-winning goal and an empty net score in the final minute.
Linden Bahm scored both late goals for Mississippi, the first came with 57 seconds left when he re-directed a shot from the point and the puck tricked past Gators goalie Brad Barone. Forced to send Barone off the ice in favor of an extra attacker, the Gators saw Bahm convert on an empty net with 15 seconds left.
“It was just another home game for us,” IceGators coach Drew Omicioli said. “Again, we got outworked and didn’t capitalize on chances. We didn’t do anything well. It was a lackluster performance.”
The Gators entered the game coming off road wins in Georgia and Mississippi, but the RiverKings outshot the Gators 35-19. The Gators struggled to get off shots through the first two periods. Mississippi goalie Garrett Sheehan shut out the Gators through 40 minutes by stopping 13 shots.
“I don’t understand how you can come off a nice rest and give a performance like that for 40 minutes,” Omicioli said.”
The Gators best scoring chance in the first period came a couple of minutes in when defenseman Jordan Ciccarello crushed one from just inside the blue line that glanced off a post. The RiverKings responded when Ryan Marcuz raced out of the penalty box after he had been sidelined two minutes for hooking. Marcuz made the most of a pass from Ian Young when he scored on a breakaway with 7:23 left.
“It is such a letdown at that point, and we have had that happen so often,” Omicioli said.
The Gators managed to even the score 45 seconds into the third period on a power play goal by Luke Sandler, but that set the stage for the RiverKings’ rebound.
The Gators will continue their three-game homestand against Columbus at 7:05 p.m. Friday.