LAFAYETTE — The Louisiana IceGators’ goal of reaching the .500 mark and securing a series sweep over Fayetteville hit a snag with less than a second left on Sunday.
Fayetteville’s Derek Elliott erased a 1-0 IceGator lead with seven-tenths of a second remaining in the third period in what turned into a 2-1 overtime win for Fayetteville at the Cajundome.
“We had a tremendous first period, and that was about it. We deserved to lose,” IceGators coach Drew Omicioli said.
Despite having 11 shots during the final two periods while Fayetteville doubled that total with 22, the IceGators (2-3-2) kept the one-goal advantage intact until the final second — more than a minute after the FireAntz had pulled goalie Parker Van Buskirk in favor of an extra attacker.
“We left a guy (open) at an angle that he shouldn’t have been able to score, but instead we get one point,” Omicioli said.
The FireAntz (5-1) carried that momentum into overtime. They had an opportunity to close out the game on a penalty shot, but IceGators goalie Adam Courchaine stoned Graeme Strukoff. Kyle Gibbons accounted for the game-winning goal on a slap shot with 25.8 seconds left. Courchaine had 29 saves on 31 shots.
“Courchaine played great the whole game,” Omicioli said. “Then a fluke like that (tying goal) happens.”
Both defenses were able to keep the respective opposing shooters at bay early — limiting their chances to mostly slap shots from the perimeter until the IceGators created a chance on a Chris Wilson rush to the net in the final four minutes of the opening period. Wilson’s rebound follow up of his own shot resulted in the game’s first goal at the 3:28 mark. The Gators finished the period with a 15-4 advantage in shots on goal.
When the IceGators were assessed a pair of minor penalties in the second period for holding and slashing, the FireAntz gradually narrowed the gap in shots on goal. Courchaine kept Fayetteville from finding the back of the net, as he turned away 20 shots through two periods, including a sprawling glove save on a FireAnt rebound opportunity with 1:29 left in the period.
The IceGators will face the Peoria Rivermen on the road next weekend in a three-game series Friday through Sunday.