Jeremy Boyer had the first word Thursday night at Augusta Ice Sports Center, and he had the last word there. Boyer posted the night's first goal and two assists in regulation and scored the game-winner in a shootout to lift the Louisiana IceGators to a 4-3 victory over the Augusta RiverHawks.
The win gives the IceGators a six-point lead over Fayetteville in the SPHL standings with three weeks remaining in the regular season. The IceGators continue their season-ending road trip Friday night against the Knoxville IceBears.
"That was a huge road win for us,"said IceGators coach Kevin Kaminski. "We played well, but we took the foot off the gas. We stopped skating and hitting, and we gave them life. They took advantage."
The IceGators and the RiverHawks traded goals in the first. Casey Mignon responded to Boyer's early goal with one of his own with four minutes left in the frame to tie the score.
Louisiana jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second period. Matt Robertson and Kirk Byzcynski each scored in the first five minutes of the period to give the IceGators a two-goal cushion. Boyer assisted on both goals.
Augusta battled back in the third. The RiverHawks scored two unanswered goals in the last six minutes of regulation to tie the game. Luke Frey scored the first goal, while Matt Auffrey scored the equalizer. Former IceGator Alex Morton assisted on both goals.
The IceGators won the shootout 2-0, with Boyer and Robert Short scoring during the tiebreaker. IceGator goalie Breton Lindoff, who stopped 27 of Augusta's 30 shots in regulation and overtime, saved all four of the RiverHawks shootout attempts.
"Lindoff gave us a solid performance," Kaminski said. "We thought we had the game in the bag and had some breakdowns late in our zone. He made some timely saves and kept us in the game."
Kaminski says this game is a good lesson for his team on how to win consistently on the road during this final stretch of the season. "The third period had been our period all season long," he remarked. "We have to have mental toughness and urgency for the whole game. The boys found a way to get the win. They have to keep that toughness, urgency, and will to win for the next few weeks."