LAFAYETTE — A breakaway and a blast helped create a hard path for the Louisiana IceGators in their home opener.
The Peoria Rivermen scored twice in the second period, as former Gator Jake Trask snapped a 1-1 tie with just over five minutes remaining in the second period in an eventual 3-1 Peoria win Thursday night at the Cajundome.
Adam Stuart closed out the scoring with eight minutes left to account for the final margin.
That Trask goal in the second period came on the heels of a pair of other scores in the second frame. Peoria winger Mike Gurtler skated in alone and found the back of the net with 14:42 remaining to put Peoria (2-2) on top 1-0. That advantage was short-lived, as the IceGators were able to pepper Peoria goalie Kyle Rank with a handful of shots a few minutes later. Jeremy Boyer finished off the burst with a goal to even the score. Mitch Stretch picked up the assist.
Both squads searched for a rhythm during a scoreless opening period. The IceGators (1-2) controlled the puck for the majority of the opening 10 minutes, which led to a 7-3 advantage in shots on goal. Rank helped keep the contest scoreless.
The best Peoria chance in the opening period came with eight minutes left when Gurtler skated in one-on-one with Courchaine, who slammed the door on that effort. Peoria went on a power play with 4:46 remaining following a two-minute minor on Jordan Ciccarello for slashing. But Courchaine made a few saves on Peoria opportunities to enable the IceGators to get back to full strength.
The teams will tangle for Game 2 of the three-game set 7:05 p.m. Friday at the Cajundome.