LAFAYETTE — After a third-period tumble, the Louisiana IceGators found an overtime lifeline against Columbus at the Cajundome.
Jake Hauswirth scored 30 seconds into overtime to lift Louisiana to a 3-2 win over the Cottonmouths on Friday night.
“Jake took it off the boards and had no hesitation,” Gators coach Drew Omicioli said. “That is the key there. He was able to go upstairs (on the shot). That was an important goal for our team and for him.”
It was the first goal in 16 games for Hauswirth.
“That’s part of the game,” Hauswirth said. “You have to simplify things and keep shooting and keep believing.”
Johnny Daniels had helped deliver a two-goal lead to the Gators by scoring twice in the second period before Columbus crawled back into the game. John Jackson scored on a power play to cut the Gators lead in half and make it 2-1 with 12:14 remaining in regulation. Ben O’Quin evened the score at 2 with 3:17 left to force an eventual overtime.
Seeing a skater leave the box and score had victimized the Gators a handful of times this season before they turned the table on their first goal.
“The guys still owe me four more goals in that (coming out of the box) situation,” Omicioli said. “It deflates teams.”
Daniels scored a second time when he gathered in a pass from Vladyslav Gavrik and beat Jaeger high to the glove side with 13:11 remaining. That burst enabled the Gators to carry a two-goal advantage into the final period. Omicioli credited the Cajundome crowd for that lead.
“We had a great crowd and they were vocal,” Omicioli said. “The community continuing to support us with some of our struggles at home is huge.”
The Gators (10-12-3) will wrap up their three-game home stand at 7:05 p.m. Saturday against Pensacola
“For Daniels to get two goals on beautiful passes from Hauswirth and Gavrik was a huge pick-me-up,” Omicioli said. “We have to carry that over to Saturday because we owe Pensacola.”