Pensacola Holds On To Beat IceGators In Shootout
LAFAYETTE, La.--For the second night in a row, the Louisiana IceGators reached a shootout, but the second verse was not the same as the first.
The IceGators shot themselves in the foot multiple times in regulation, especially in power play situations, to fall to the Pensacola IceFlyers 4-3. Ryan Kesti scored both the game-tying goal in regulation and the eventual game-winner in the shootout.
The IceGators return to action Saturday night when the face the Macon Mayhem in the Cajundome. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m.
“The power play lost the game for us,” IceGator head coach Drew Omicioli said.. “Five-on-five, we outplayed them. Our penalty kill and defense were phenomenal. Our power play killed us. They allowed a guy to come out of the penalty box to score, and they they allowed a short-handed goal. It’s unacceptable. I give credit to Pensacola. They hung around and took advantage of our mistakes--three major mistakes--and came out on top.
“I don’t know what goes through people’s heads to let a guy come out of the (penalty) box unchecked or go on a breakaway on a power play. It’s laziness, and the same guys on the power play played well during full strength and on the penalty kill. We gave them the game. I’m baffled--absolutely baffled--by it. If I had 19 Jeremy Boyers on my roster, we’d be in first place right now because he’s the only one who shows up every night.”
The bulk of the scoring came in the second period.
Corey Banfield scored at the 5:19 mark of the period on a breakaway after jumping out of the penalty box.
Geordie Wudrick tied the game at the 8:35 mark when he tipped in a Travis Armstrong feed across the crease.
Pensacola regained the lead less than a minute later when he scored on a backhanded shot off a cross-ice pass from Stephen Buco.
The IceGators took the lead by scoring twice in a 30-second span. The first goal was the result of Pensacola’s Adam Pawlick tipping the puck into his own goal at the 12:46 mark. John Daniels received credit for that score, with assists going to Brad Bourke and Nicholas Kuquali. Wudrick scored the second goal at the 13:16 mark after taking a drop pass from Hood and launching a shot over goalie John McClain’s shoulder.
The IceGators killed their own momentum with 8:10 left in regulation. The IceGators misplayed the puck at center ice during a power play, allowing Kesti to steal the puck and score on a breakaway.
“We gave (Pensacola) every goal tonight,” Omicioli said. “Even their second goal was a simple clear of the puck. Instead, we kept it in with a careless play behind the net. That short-handed goal deflated the team, and then we took a penalty while on a power play. We can’t put ourselves in that position. We thrive in a three-on-three because of our speed, and didn’t allow ourselves to compete because we had to kill. These mistakes are killing us. Because of them, we’re tied for sixth in the standings. These guys should be a top four team--even with all the players we’re missing.”
Omicioli also expressed disappointment with the officiating after the game.
“I’ve never seen so many of my guys get stuck in the groin, which apparently is legal after what I’ve seen over the weekend,” Omicioli mused. “The (Pensacola) bench hollering led to three penalties called on us. I watched Jeremy Boyer get cross-checked in front of the net on a scoring opportunity and several of my guys get speared with no call. I’m amazed at how many penalties were missed this weekend. My honest opinion is that the SPHL needs two referees on every game. The one referee method isn’t working.
“They’re admitting that they see it, but they’re saying that they can’t call it in that situation,” Omicioli added. “A perfect example is an interference on Johnny Daniels with five seconds left in the first period. The referee acknowledged he saw it, but he said he wasn’t going to call it because of the amount of time on the clock and because it wasn’t a scoring opportunity. That’s not the rule. The penalties need to be called by the book every night home and away. If they keep calling the way they are now, there are teams in the league that will consistently be short-handed. There are a lot of teams frustrated, but at the end of the day, we just have to deal with it.”
However, Omicioli says he’s most frustrated with his players’ effort and their propensity to make mistakes at the most inopportune times.
“In the end, it’s a wasted point,” Omicioli said of Sunday’s game. “It’s a disappointing weekend for the organization. We need to take this (Christmas) break to sort out our injuries and our team and see what we’re getting back. We’ve tried so many combinations that it’s starting to become a personnel issue.”