LAFAYETTE — Welcome back, Tyler Barr!
After spending several weeks on the injured reserve list, Barr returned in the biggest way possible, picking up two goals and an assist to lift the Louisiana IceGators to a 5-3 win over the Mississippi RiverKings on Wednesday night.
The win also snaps the IceGators’ four-game losing streak against the RiverKings.
The IceGators return to action Friday night when they host the Pensacola IceFlyers in the Cajundome. Game time is 7:05 p.m.
“Tyler Barr brought so much inspiration to the team tonight,” IceGators coach Drew Omicioli said. “He brought it not just with his goals and with his fight, but also with his overall presence on the ice. That was a huge plus for us.
“Overall, I’m beyond proud of the entire team. I thought we had unbelievable intensity. Our breakouts were a thousand times better now that we have guys back and healthy. Tyler Amburgey showed exactly why we brought him in by moving the puck well, by skating well, and by having great vision on the ice. Having Clark and Kirk (Byczynski) back was huge, too.
“Having six solid defensemen is instrumental to our success here on out.”
The IceGators found themselves in a 2-0 hole early following screened goals by Devin Mantha and Sean Jones.
The IceGators responded with five unanswered goals.
Barr and Jake Hauswirth scored with 44 seconds of each other in the thirteenth minute of the game to even the score.
Chris Wilson and Tanner Burton added two more goals in the first 1:19 of the second period to put Louisiana ahead 4-2.
Barr added an insurance goal on a power play with 9:03 left in the game.
The game ended on a dramatic note as the RiverKing bench involved itself in a fight between Barr and Luke Warner. Mike Grace, Andrew Randazzo, and Jones threw punches at Mike MacIntyre while he was pinned against the boards during the scuffle. The donnybrook resulted in a combined 52 penalty minutes for the teams.
“The ending of the game exemplified the character we have on the team,” Omicioli said. “It was a gutless move on their part to start fighting from the bench, but our guys answered. Anytime you can beat them on the scoreboard and physically like we did tonight, it’s a double whammy.”
Omicioli says the team is finally beginning to look like a championship squad.
“I think it’s apparent that when we have a full team with what I feel are the right players playing the way they played tonight, we are an extremely scary team,” Omicioli said. It was fun for me to watch from the bench tonight because of their will to want the puck, fight for the puck, battle for the puck, execute on scoring, and everything else. We’re on the right track to finally hoist the (President’s) Cup in Lafayette.”