LAFAYETTE — After going through the grind for 65 minutes, a shootout did little to loosen the lines of battle between the Louisiana IceGators and Mississippi RiverKings on Saturday night.
But the IceGators knocked off the first-place RiverKings in a 15-round shootout that ended when Jeremy Boyer sent a puck between the legs of Mississippi goalie Garrett Sheehan to yield a 1-0 victory in the Cajundome.
IceGators goalie Brad Barone stopped 41 Mississippi shots in regulation and overtime, then made 11 stops in the shootout, which the IceGators won 4-3.
The shootout set an SPHL record, topping a 12-round tiebreaker won by the Pensacola Ice Flyers over the IceGators on Jan. 25, 2013.
“(Barone) stole the show,” IceGators coach Drew Omicioli said. “That was one of the better goaltending matchups I have seen. This league has made a drastic jump, even from last season. Because of the quality of the goaltending, every game is a grind.”
The RiverKings nearly doubled the IceGators’ shot total in the opening 20 minutes (15-8), but Barone turned away all 15 Mississippi efforts to keep the contest scoreless. The stalemate continued through two more periods and the five-minute overtime, with neither team making a dent.
“You had two teams clogging up the neutral zone, and there were a ton of turnovers,” Omicioli said. “That was shutdown-style hockey. We took five penalties, and that was too many, but that was overall the best defensive game we have played this season.”
The Gators improved to 7-9-2, and Mississippi dropped to 13-4-2.
The Gators wrap up their two-game homestand — and play their third game in three days — when they tangle with Pensacola at 3:05 p.m. Sunday in the Cajundome.