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The Louisiana IceGators split a weekend series with the Fayetteville FireAntz at the Cajundome, and signs of their early season scoring slump look to be fading away. The Gators two-point weekend keep them tied for sixth place in the SPHL standing with the Knoxville Ice Bears, and three points behind their next opponent – the Pensacola Ice Flyers.

The IceGators dropped a 3-1 decision to the FireAntz on Friday night in a game filled with missed opportunities. Through the first 40 minutes, the game shaped out to be a classic goalie battle between Eric Levine and his Fayetteville counterpart, Parker Van Buskirk. The FireAntz would capitalize on a pair of breakdowns and score a pair of third period goals, then withstand a fierce comeback attempt to prevail. The IceGators were off on Saturday while the FireAntz traveled to Pensacola where they would shut out the Ice Flyers, 4-0. Van Buskirk was sensational both nights, as he made 37 saves on Friday against the IceGators and 41 in Pensacola.

Adam Courchaine got the Sunday afternoon assignment in the pipes for Louisiana, and the FireAntz got to him early with a goal from Josh McQuade and a power play marker from Joe Manno. The Gators hung tough, and cut the lead to 2-1 early in the second period by Johnny Daniels, scoring his fifth goal in eight games. Nick Lazorko would give Fayetteville a two-goal lead again with a goal mid way through the third period. Lazorko’s tally sparked another furious comeback attempt from the IceGators. Sunday’s comeback turned out to be successful, with Vlad Gavrik scoring his first goal of the season with 3:39 remaining and Brad Bourke threading the needle less than two minutes later to send the game into overtime. Bourke would strike again, scoring his third goal in two games, 1:36 into overtime thanks to some hard work down low by Jeremy Boyer. Boyer drove to the left post, then set up Bourke right in front of the crease.

Sunday’s game may not have been a must-win game for the IceGators, but the team needed a victory at the Cajundome. The IceGators went 22 days without a win in front of the home crowd, who were not happy with the team’s 5-7-2 record going into Sunday’s contest. The upcoming schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Gators, with three games in their next four against Matt Zenzola and the Pensacola Ice Flyers. The other game over the next two weekends is against the league-leading Mississippi RiverKings.

Team News

  • Adam Courchaine (G) will be spending the next couple of weeks with the ECHL Norfolk Admirals. Courchaine was originally loaned out to the Wheeling Nailers, then traded to Norfolk. The Admirals are filling a void left by Ty Rimmer’s callup to the AHL Bakersfield Condors.
  • The IceGators will go into Friday’s game with Pensacola with a new goalie tandem with the loan of Eric Levine (G) to the ECHL Colorado Eagles. Levine will likely be used as an emergency backup due to an injury to Colorado goalie Kris Lazaruk.
  • Louisiana has signed Alex Vazzano (G) Brent Troyan (G) as the replacement goaltending tandem. Vazzano is coming to the IceGators from the FHL Danbury Titans, where he is 4-2-0 with a 3.34 GAA (4th in the FHL) and a .896 SV% (3rd). Troyan has spent time with ten ECHL teams as an emergency backup, and will fill a similar role with the IceGators. Vazzano will get the starts in net during Courchaine and Levine’s absence.
  • The injury to Dan Cornell (D) is not as serious as was originally thought. Cornell cannot be placed on 30-day injured reserve, since Eric Tallent (D) and Mitch Stretch (D) are already listed. Patrick Harrison (D) has been signed by the team to fill in while Cornell is out. Harrison began the season with the FHL Brewster Bulldogs, and has four assists in ten games with the last place team in the Federal League.
  • Unfortunately, the injury to Mitch Stretch (D) is more serious than anticipated, and possibly season-ending. Also, Eric Tallent (D) could also be out for an extended period of time.

Game Recaps

Friday: IceGators 1, Fayetteville 3

1st Period
(no scoring)
2nd Period
FAY – Schneider (Gibbons, Elliott) 1:29
Period 3
LOU – Bourke (Hood, Hudson) 5:31
FAY – Lazorko (Elliott) 9:08
FAY – McQuade (Manno) 17:11
Sunday: IceGators 4, Fayetteville 0 (OT)

1st Period
FAY – McQuade (Rivait) 2:49
FAY – Manno (pp) (McQuade, Van Buskirk) 12:27
2nd Period
LOU – Daniels (Boyer, Hauswirth) 1:03
3rd Period
FAY – Lazorko (Gibbons, Plumton) 11:41
LOU – Gavrik (Hudson, Kavanagh) 16:21
LOU – Bourke (Boyer, Hietala) 18:11
Overtime
LOU – Bourke (Boyer, Hood) 1:36

TSB’s Three Stars

​Friday
★ – Parker Van Buskirk (G) – Fayetteville
★★ – Derek Elliott (C) – Fayetteville
★★★ – Johnny Daniels (RW) – IceGators
Sunday
​★ – Brad Bourke (D) – IceGators
★★ – Jeremy Boyer (C) – IceGators
★★★ – Josh McQuade (LW) – Fayetteville

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