LAFAYETTE — As the Louisiana IceGators prepare to deal with a familiar challenge for the second straight weekend, some new faces have created an unfamiliar asset for the squad.
The Gators will face the Mississippi RiverKings on Friday and Saturday at 7:05 p.m. in the Landers Center that hosted a 3-2 IceGator shootout victory when the teams met last Saturday. The Gators got a pair of assists from center Zac Frischmon, who was playing in his first contest with the team after coming over from the Fayetteville FireAntz in a trade.
“Zac can score, but he is also very creative offensively,” IceGators coach Drew Omicioli said. “My main concern was finding someone to get Geordie Wudrick the puck on that line. As they keep playing together and build chemistry, they will get even better.”
Defenseman Ben Kramer also played in his first game with the IceGators. His efforts and Frischmon’s fitting into the lineup gave Omicioli some additional options in a season that has featured numerous call-ups to the ECHL and player injuries.
“Ben Kramer was thrown right into the mix, and he played well,” Omicioli said. “We are as deep as we have been. Kramer has tremendous skating ability. With our defense like we have it, if we can beat that first guy and create odd-man rushes, that adds to our offense.”
Adam Courchaine will add his presence to the IceGators goaltending corps. He has recovered from a concussion that kept him out and pressed rookie Brad Barone into handling the duties between the pipes for the last several games. “Brad is a young goalie who doesn’t have a ton of experience,” Omicioli said. “He has progressed every day and week and we now have a lethal combination with him and Courchaine.”
Wudrick and Johnny Daniels lead the IceGators in goals scored with 11 each, Jeremy Boyer leads the team in points with 18 (eight goals, 10 assists). The Gators also added forward Austin Daae to help add offensive punch. “Austin is a little bigger than Frischmon and is creative, too,” Omicioli said. “For a team that was lacking on offense to have a guy like Frischmon contribute right away with two assists was a positive for everybody, including me.”
The Gators will be playing the second and third game of an 11-game road trip. “We are 1-0 on this trip and we plan to be 3-0,” Omicioli said. “I am pleased with the new guys and our leadership has stepped up.”