Jan 31, 2014 11:39 PM by IceGators Media Relations
Lafayette, La.--The Cardiac Crocodilians once again dodged a speeding bullet.
The Mississippi RiverKings scored twice on power plays in the third period to pull within a goal of a tie, but the Louisiana IceGators' defense was strong enough to hold on to a 5-4 victory.
Shawn McNeil recorded three assists. McNeil has now scored a point in 16 consecutive games.
The IceGators close out their weekend home stand with a Sunday afternoon game against the Mississippi Surge. Game time is 3:05 p.m.
"I thought it was a great 58 minutes of hockey," IceGators head coach Kevin Kaminski said. "I thought our guys competed and skated very well. Our puck and track pressure were really good. Up until those last power plays, we held the RiverKings to only 12 shots.
"Our defense also did a fantastic job. Our guys sacrificed their bodies. They knew what was at stake, and they wanted the win bad."
Kaminski also had high praise for his team's captain.
"McNeil made some great, simple plays tonight. He was everywhere tonight and was outstanding. He was so smart out there and did everything so well."
The teams traded goals in the first period.
Brett Valliquette put the RiverKings ahead six minutes into the game. Jeff Grant's power play goal tied the score at the 13:20 mark of the frame.
The teams exchanged goals again to start the second period.
The IceGators took a 2-1 lead at the 4:37 mark on an Adam Stuart score. Twelve seconds later, Matt Harrington evened the score.
The IceGators then began to pull away.
Kirk Byczynski recorded a power play goal seven minutes in, while Jeremy Boyer scored on a breakaway nearly nine minutes into the frame to put Louisiana ahead 4-2 heading into the second intermission.
Jordan Braid added another power play goal early in the third period to give the IceGators their largest lead of the night at 5-2.
The RiverKings roared back late in the game on a 5-on-3 powerplay.
Matt Whitehead scored the first goal on the power play at the with 4:19 left in regulation to cut the IceGator lead to two. Patrick Schafer added another power play goal one minute later to make the score 5-4.
Despite several opportunities in front of the IceGator net at the end of the game, the IceGator defense prevented Mississippi from scoring by putting traffic in front of the net.
Kaminski knows that his squad has had troubles against the Surge this season. However, he knows that his team's current five-game win streak has taught them how to win on a consistent basis.
"The Surge has had our number this year," Kaminski said. "We have to play our game against them. We were really good on the cycle tonight, and we have to grind down the Surge the same way. We have to stick to our game play, keep things simple, and make sure our work ethic is next to none."