icegators-2015-fblogoThe rink at Planet Ice was the scene for the Louisiana IceGators’ final scrimmage before they get to skate against an opposing team. Twenty players will make the trip east to Florida to face-off against the Ice Flyers at the Pensacola Bay Center at 4:00pm Saturday in their only pre-season contest before the regular season begins. Tomorrow’s game is open to the public and admission is free.

The scrimmage followed the format of the past two days with five-on-five, four-on-four, three-on-three, and shootout periods. Forwards Jake Hauswirth and Alex Hudson each ran their respective sides. The boys kept up their fast-paced play in the 25-minute five-on-five period, and although the pace got a little loose at times, the defensive players and solid goaltending mostly held the forwards in check. The big Czech forward Radoslav Konecny opened scoring with a speed rush on the left side, then beating Matt Cooper on his blocker side. The other goal scored during five-on-five play was a pretty cross-ice dish to John Scorcia, beating Jonah Imoo on the far side.

The offense opened up again when four-on-four play began, and the forwards took advantage of the open ice to rack up several goals during the period.  Jeremy Boyer had a noteworthy goal off of a cross-ice tip before Adam Courchaine could cover the other post. Newcomer Dan Turgeon put in the work on Boyer’s goal with a timely steal, offensive zone rush, and a crisp pass to Boyer’s stick. Konecny ripped a beauty of a goal with a snap shot from the left face-off dot to the top-right corner. When play shifted to three-on-three, Vlad Gavrik had the goal of the entire scrimmage with a gorgeous bar-down blast from the top of the left face-off circle. Later, Gavrik dazzled with a wicked dangle in the offensive zone, the immediately squashed a two-on-one chance with a speed rush down the length of the ice and poked the puck out from behind. The practice session ended with another shootout session with Adam Courchaine making some solid stops and Jonah Imoo showing good quickness when dropping his pads.

Camp Notes

  • Defenseman Jordan Ciccarello (upper body) and forward Tyler Barr (lower body) sat out today’s practice. Both spent the day doing a little public relations in a skeet shooting event. Both are expected to return to the ice on Monday.
  • Forward Josh Collins also did not attend today’s practice. He left practice after yesterday’s five-on-five and according to Coach Drew Omicioli, has not been in touch with the team.
  • Defensemen Nick Kuqali & Travis Armstrong, along with forward Dan Turgeon made their first skates with the team and played well.
  • Armstrong is a 6’5″ defenseman from Finlandia (MI) University and a three-year captain for the Lions. He was the final player released by the ECHL Kalamazoo Wings.
  • Turgeon was the last player released by the ECHL Elmira Jackals. He’s a 6’3″ forward who played for the FHL Danville Dashers last season, scoring 37 points in 39 games and spent some time with the Jackals.
  • Kuqali started the 2014-15 season with the IceGators before getting traded to the Huntsville Havoc. He then got sent up to the ECHL Wheeling Nailers, playing in 22 games. This season, Kuqali was the final pre-season cut of the Fort Wayne Komets.
  • The IceGators will dress 20 players in their exhibition game against the Ice Flyers. We will bring you the roster when it is released by coach Omicioli later today.
  • The team will bring two goaltenders to Pensacola. One of the two will make the team as Adam Courchaine’s backup to start the season.
  • The first cutdown date is Sunday, when the IceGators have to reduce their roster to 22 players.

Coach’s Chomps

  • I thought it was the best skate of all three sessions. Today, I thought it was more of a passing game, where that’s usually what happens when fatigue sets in.
  • Today was more of a true-game style of play. Guys were moving the puck quicker, did a good job driving the net, and the little intangibles that throughout the season make you a winning team.
  • I think we’re head-and-shoulders above where we were last year. The talent level… personalities within the locker room & on the ice are great.
  • Anytime you lose a leader like Shawn McNeil, it always concerns you because he was such a great leader. I think Jake Hauswirth has taken the reigns and has done a phenomenal job getting these guys to be a close-knit group.
  • (On other locker room leaders) I think (Chris) Wilson has done a phenomenal job, and (Alex) Hudson has done a great job… Pisano… Courchaine. The guys who you would expect to do it that don’t always do it, have.
  • The game (against Pensacola) tomorrow is really going to show how they react when you’re going up against your enemy. It’s really going to showcase and separate the guys that I feel are the missing pieces to the puzzle… The intensity level is going to be through the roof.
  • I can’t wait to put on the suit and get behind the bench. I feel like I have something to prove this year with the guys that I brought in… that this is truly my team.

Follow on Facebook at Five For Chomping, and on Twitter at @SinBinIceGators to get the latest Louisiana IceGators news and reports from across the SPHL.

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