IceGators Lose Season Finale, Clinch #2 Seed In Playoffs
Pensacola, Florida–If anyone ever needs proof of Murphy’s Law, he can look at the game film of the Louisiana IceGators season finale. Everything that could have gone wrong for the IceGators Sunday afternoon went wrong. Single-digit shot totals in the first two periods, faltering special teams units, and costly turnovers resulted in a 5-1 Pensacola IceFlyer victory over the IceGators.
The defeat cost the IceGators home-ice advantage in the upcoming SPHL playoffs. Louisiana must settle for the #2 seed in the postseason. The IceGators open the playoffs Wednesday in the Cajundome against the Mississippi RiverKings. Game time is 7:05 P. M.
“It was Groundhog Day all over again,” said IceGators coach Kevin Kaminski. “We got outworked, outhit, outshot, and outskated. The only thing we won was the turnover festival, and in hockey, that’s not a good thing.”
The IceGators found themselves in a hole at the first intermission. Tyler Soehner scored on a powerplay three-and-a-half minutes into the first period to give the IceFlyers a 1-0 lead. Louisiana tied the score less than a minute into the second period when Jeremy Boyer scored off a Kirk Byczynski assist.
The IceFlyers regained control of the game shortly afterward. Ron Cramer and Ryan Salvis scored late in the second period to give Pensacola a 3-1 lead heading into the second intermission. The IceFlyers tacked on two more goals–one from Salvis and another from Joe Caveney–in the third period.
Kaminski says his team needs to do some soul searching.
“It’s time to look at ourselves in the mirror and remember how we were successful and play that way,” he said. “Our discipline with puck decisions, systems, finished checks, and the officials has killed us. We have lost all of our focus on priding the little things. We have to learn to recognize the situation and make plays when they are there.”
Kaminski added that his team must fight through the recent adversity instead of sitting back and accepting it.
“It’s called mental toughness,” he said. “The heart and want and will to win all the one-on-one battles has to be at 100-percent. Otherwise, we won’t win.”