Hauswirth Lifts IceGators Past Cottonmouths In OT
LAFAYETTE, La.--Jake Hauswirth’s drought is over.
After going six weeks and 16 games without scoring, Hauswirth recorded his biggest goal of the season, going top shelf 31 seconds into overtime to give the Louisiana IceGators a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Cottonmouths.
The IceGators return to action Saturday night when they host the Pensacola IceFlyers in the Cajundome at 7:05 p.m.
“It feels great to end the slump, but it’s even better that we came together as a squad and pulled out the win,” Hauswirth said after the game. “(Slumps are) part of the game. You just keep shooting, and eventually they’ll fall. I just kept it simple and kept shooting. Tonight, I finally got one to fall.”
John Daniels was also spectacular for the IceGators, scoring their first two goals of the night. The first came immediately after Daniels exited the penalty box after serving a two-minute minor for hooking. Daniels took a pass from Hauswirth, beat two defenders, and put a deke on Columbus goalie Brandon Jaeger to score. The second came on a similar down-ice pass from Vladislav Gavrik. Daniels again beat two defenders, but this time he scored with a wrist shot from the slot.
Those goals came after Daniels almost gave Columbus an opportunity to take an early lead in the first period. Daniels misplayed the puck in the neutral zone, allowing Ben O’Quinn to come out of the penalty box and attack on a fast break. O’Quinn, however, lost control of the puck and wasn’t able to take a shot.
“He’ll be the first to tell you that he gave them a breakaway in the first period and that he didn’t play the best 20 minutes in the first,” IceGators head coach Drew Omicioli said about Daniels. “For him to recover, score those goals, and play at the end of the game with a Charley horse says a lot about his work ethic. He’s going to commit rookie errors and mental errors, but that’s part of the game.”
Columbus battled back, scoring twice in the final 13 minutes of regulation to tie the game. John Jackson scored the first goal on a power play by tipping in an Andy Bathgate shot. O’Quinn tied the game with 3:17 left in the third with a backhanded shot.
The Cardiac Crocodilians wasted no time putting the game away in the extra frame. Hauswirth took a feed from Daniels, skated behind and around the goal, and launched an odd-angle backhander past Jaeger to win the game.
“That’s an important goal for him and for the team,” Omicioli said of Hauswirth’s game-winner. “We need him to score on a more consistent basis. He’s been trying, but they hadn’t been falling. Hopefully, this is the spark he needs because when he’s scoring, he brings fire to the team.”
As for the team as a whole, Omicioli says playing short-handed hurt them towards the end of the game.
“I think fatigue set in,” Omicioli said. “We played two guys down tonight. We weren’t complacent, but we were too laid back and too lackadaisical. I’m not happy with how we won it, but I’m proud of the guys for not giving up and getting the two points.”
Now, the IceGators turn their attention to the Pensacola IceFlyers--a team that has had the IceGators’ number all season.
“I told the guys that we owe Pensacola big time and that we need to get those two points tomorrow night,” Omicioli said. “We had a great crowd tonight. We need the community to support us. I hope they come out again tomorrow night.”