LAFAYETTE — A day after setting a league record in a shootout, taking a slightly shorter route on Sunday was not beneficial for the Louisiana IceGators.
The Gators dropped a 4-3 decision to the Pensacola Ice Flyers at the Cajundome in a shootout situation that ended in a 3-1 Ice Flyer margin.
“(Goaltender) Brad Barone played well, and we played well 5-on-5,” IceGators coach Drew Omicioli said. “We did a tremendous job killing so many penalties, but our power play (stunk). We gave up a goal to a guy coming out of the (penalty) box. Then we gave up a short-handed goal.”
The loss came on the heels of an IceGators win Saturday night over the Mississippi RiverKings that included a 15-round shootout, a Southern Professional Hockey League record.
This time, Pensacola used a short-handed goal to even the score at 3-3 when Ryan Kesti beat Barone on a backhand shot with 8:11 remaining in regulation.
“They didn’t overpower us, and our penalty kill looked great, but I am baffled that you can allow a goal that late shorthanded,” Omicioli said.
The Ice Flyers (11-6-1) closed out the victory in the shootout when Joe Caveney scored Pensacola’s third goal to account for a 3-1 lead in the final round.
“In the shootout, we had a couple of times when their goaltender was laying on the ice,” Omicioli said. “He was down, and those shots have to be in the top part of the net. We blew a point.”
Facing their third game in three days, the IceGators (7-9-3) turned a 2-1 deficit into a lead on the second period thanks to a pair of goals in 30 seconds.
When the IceGators dumped the puck into the offensive zone, a bounce off the boards put the puck on John Daniels’ stick. He beat Pensacola goaltender John McLean with 7:14 remaining in the second period to even the score. Geordie Wudrick used a slap shot to send the IceGators into the lead with 6:44 on the clock.
The IceGators kept Pensacola at bay on the power play by shutting the Ice Flyers down on all eight chances. Jeremy Boyer was a frequent shot blocker in those situations.
“If I had 18 guys give the effort that Jeremy Boyer gives, we would be undefeated,” Omicioli said.
The IceGators will play their final two contests of the calendar year when they host the Macon Mayhem on Saturday and Sunday.