February 14, 2003

Kingfish fall to IceGators, 3-2
Baton Rouge Kingfish Press Release

Despite two first period goals by Marquis Mathieu, the Louisiana IceGators used two goals by Bobby Brown to down the Kingfish, 3-2.

The Kingfish jumped out to an early 1-0 lead as Marquis Mathieu pushed the puck into the net as it sat on the goal line. Trevor Demmans added an assist on the goal jut 41 seconds into the first period.

Bobby Brown threaded the needle as he pushed the puck through Niklas Sundberg’s five hole 52 seconds later. Jeff Worlton and J.P. Morin added the assists on the goal.

The IceGators took at 2-1 lead as Bobby Brown added his second of the night with a laser over Sundberg’s right shoulder at the 9:26 mark of the first period. Shawn Skiehar added the assist on the goal.

Mathieu’s second goal of the evening tied the game at two as a Kingfish power play expired. He muscled through the neutral zone and let a slap-shot go from the right point that beat Kettles over the right shoulder at the 14:58 mark of the period.

Casey Kesselring regained the lead for the IceGators at the 5:33 mark of the second as he redirected Sean McNeil’s centering feed past Sundberg.

Neither team could pick anything up in the final period as the Kingfish outshot the IceGators by 31-35 margin in the loss. Sundberg made 28 saves in the losing effort and falls to 12-13-2 on the season.

The Kingfish are back at it on Tuesday when they host the Arkansas RiverBlades at 7:05 p.m. in the Centroplex. Catch all the action on Baton Rouge’s Best R & B, 104.5 WZRB beginning with the Kingfish pre-game show at 6:50 p.m.

IceGators tickled pink, within four points of playoffs
Louisiana Ice Gators Press Release

Lafayette, LA – Bobby Brown had two goals in the first period, Shawn McNeil snapped a tie in the second and fan favorite Jeff Worlton picked up his first pro point on Brown’s first tally, as the red-and-pink clad IceGators beat the Kingfish 3-2 at the Cajundome on Valentine’s Day.

Kyle Kettles finished with 33 saves for Louisiana, which extended its Southwest Division lead to five points over Pensacola, which leaped over Mississippi with a 5-4 win against Arkansas. The IceGators also saw their magic number to clinch a playoff spot drop to four points, and they can clinch the ECHL’s first playoff berth with wins tomorrow in Pensacola and Sunday at home versus Mississippi.

The IceGators can credit the victory to a more disciplined approach. Louisiana, which had yielded 30 power play opportunities in back-to-back games against Pensacola last weekend, killed off all five Baton Rouge attempts – including a five-minute man advantage. The IceGators were also 0-for-6 on the power play.

“We stayed out of the box and also put together three strong periods,” said Brown, who just missed two chances at his second hat trick in two weeks in the final minute of play. “When we do that, we’re going to get a lot better.”

Marquis Mathieu and Dwayne Blais each scored for the Kingfish, who fell to 1-11-1 in their last 13. Niklas Sundberg turned aside 27 shots for Baton Rouge.

Blais got things started with his second goal as a Kingfish – just 41 seconds in – as Kettles lost sight of the puck. The netminder made the save on Blais’ attempt from the slot, and the puck sat on the goal line next to his right skate. As traffic came onto Kettles, the goalie pushed the puck into his own net.

Brown answered back just 52 seconds later for his first of the period. Worlton, who picked up his first pro point in his 61st game, sent a pass from the right point to J.P. Morin along the left boards. Morin sent a shot in on Sundberg, and the puck squirted to Brown at the bottom of the right circle. Brown got the puck past the netminder to tie the game at 1-1.

“With a couple of guys out, I’m getting more and more ice time,” said Worlton. “It’s up to me to do something with it.”

With 10:34 left in the second, Brown made it 2-1 with his 28th of the season. Brown controlled a long rebound off a Shawn Skiehar shot just inside the blueline, walked between two defenders and unleashed a wrister from the right circle that beat Sundberg high blocker side. Brown has nine goals in his last six games – including three multi-goal games – and his four-game goal streak ties his career high.

Mathieu evened the score at 2-2 with 5:02 left in the first, just five seconds after a Kingfish power play expired and the IceGators missed out on a 3-on-2 shorthanded chance. With Louisiana struggling to recover, Mathieu took an outlet pass along the right boards and sped up ice. Mathieu placed his slapshot from just inside the blueline perfectly, getting it barely over Kettles’ blocker.

McNeil put Louisiana up with his 31st goal of the season 5:33 into the second. Newcomer Casey Kesselring won the draw into the corner to start off the play. McNeil attempted to feed Kesselring from the right corner, but the puck went off Sundberg’s skate into the back of the net. McNeil has scored three goals in the last two months that have gone off the goalie’s skate. Twenty-five of McNeil’s 31 goals have either tied the game or put Louisiana on top.

“I almost got another one past (Sundberg) earlier,” said McNeil, who moved ahead of Nathan Rempel for the team lead with his sixth game-winning goal. “He’s a big goalie and tends to pay a lot of attention to the guys in front of the net. I just try and aim it at the triangle between the stick and his pads.”

Baton Rouge had a golden attempt to draw even with a five-minute power play when Derek Boogaard was called for an elbowing major and game miscounduct, but the IceGators’ penalty kill was up to task.

Sundberg helped keep the Kingfish within one, as he stopped Rempel twice inside six minutes – including a shorthanded breakaway.

Louisiana wasted nearly two full minutes of a 5-on-3 early in the third, and then Sundberg stopped McNeil from the right doorstop just as the second penalty expired.

Baton Rouge’s Garnet Jacobson picked up a game misconduct with 9:07 left. The players collected behind Kettles after a save, and with Morin locked up with Bryan Richardson, Jacobson came in and wrestled Morin to the ground.

The Kingfish had a 4-on-3 power play with 8:03 left when Branislav Kvetan was called for roughing. Baton Rouge had a good chance early in the man advantage, but Mathieu was tied up in front and couldn’t get a stick on a centering pass. Just before play went to 5-on-4, Kettles swallowed up a Trevor Demmans shot from the point.

Kettles stopped Richardson with 6:13 left on a mini-breakaway, and a hand pass after the attempt negated a Kingfish tally. With 2:45 left, Kettles also popped a Richardson try up over the net.

Brown’s first attempted empty netter, with 31 seconds left, was stopped by Jason Norrie at the goal line. With three seconds left, Brown’s shot from center ice was tipped by Tom Kaiman just after he shot it and barely went wide right.

Gator Bites:

Louisiana’s Valentine’s Day jerseys will be auctioned off by the Booster Club immediately following Sunday’s game.

Baton Rouge has played a league-high 31 one-goal games, going 9-13-9. Louisiana is tied with Pensacola and Columbus for second with 29. The IceGators are 13-6-10 in such contests, including a 9-2-3 home mark.

The Kingfish are three for their last 59 on the power play.

McNeil has 15 points (4g, 11a) in an eight-game point streak.

Brown has 16 points (9g, 5a) in a six-game point streak, a new season-high.

Brown’s only four-game goal streak came with Dayton from November 15-22, 1998. He had seven goals in that span.

McNeil played in his 254th game with the IceGators, moving within one of Jason McQuat for sixth on the team’s all-time list.

McNeil has at least one point in each of his last 10 home games, with 20 points in the span.

McNeil has 125 goals with the IceGators, seven shy of Chris Valicevic for third place on the team’s all-time list.

Louisiana snapped a three-game home winless skid (0-1-2). A loss or shootout loss tonight would have tied the franchise record.

Brown has seven multi-goal games, two better than each Rempel and McNeil for the team lead.

With goalie Derek Gustafson back in Houston, 18-year-old assistant equipment manager Jody Green once again backed up Kettles.

Kettles is 5-1-1 with a 2.27 goals against average this season versus Baton Rouge. He has blanked the Kingfish twice.

Former IceGators netminder Frederic Cloutier backed up Manny Fernandez for the Minnesota Wild tonight. The Wild lost to Phoenix 3-2. Tomorrow, Minnesota is in Colorado.

Former IceGators captain Jay Murphy earned his first win as a coach last night, when he helped step in for the suspended Rick Adduono in Greensboro. Murphy and an assistant coach led the Generals to a 4-3 win over Richmond, his former team, and Marc Magliarditi, his former teammate.


DATE - 02/14/03     Baton Rouge ( 2) AT Louisiana ( 3)

Baton Rouge                2  0  0--2  
Louisiana                  2  1  0--3  

FIRST PERIOD -- Scoring: 1, Baton Rouge-Blais 2 (Demmans; Mathieu) 
0:41. 2, Louisiana-Brown 27 (Morin; Worlton) 1:33. 3, Louisiana-Brown 28 
(Skiehar; Corupe) 9:26. 4, Baton Rouge-Mathieu 12 (Sundberg; Norrie) 
14:58. Penalties: Cheredaryk, BR (Tripping), 1:40. Kesselring, LA 
(Hooking), 6:37. Kvetan, LA (Cross checking), 12:53. Jacobson, BR 
(Slashing), 16:19. Demmans, BR (Interference), 19:21. 

SECOND PERIOD -- Scoring: 5, Louisiana-McNeil 31 (game winner) 
(Kesselring) 5:33. Penalties: Boogaard, LA served by Skiehar 
(Elbowing, Major, Game misc.), 6:48. Mathieu, BR (Tripping), 12:49. 
Mass, LA (Holding), 15:08. 

THIRD PERIOD -- Scoring: None. Penalties: Sullivan, BR (Elbowing), 
1:11. Cheredaryk, BR (Roughing), 1:30. Morin, LA (Roughing), 10:53. 
Richardson, BR (Roughing), 10:53. Jacobson, BR (Game misc.), 10:53. 
Kvetan, LA (Roughing), 11:57. 

Baton Rouge               15 12  8--35 
Louisiana                 13 10  7--30 

Power Play Conversions: Baton Rouge - 0 of 5, Louisiana - 0 of 6.
Goalies: Baton Rouge-Sundberg (30 shots, 27 saves; record: 4-7-2). 
Louisiana-Kettles (35 shots, 33 saves; record: 13-5-6). 
A: 3913.  Referee: Koharski. Linesmen: Jones; Sotak.

Game Story
LAFAYETTE, Louisiana (Ticker) -- Bobby Brown scored twice and 
Kyle Kettles turned away 38 shots to lead the Louisiana
IceGators to a 3-2 victory over the Baton Rouge Kingfish. Brown
scored 1:33 into the match, tying the score at 1-1, and eight
minutes later gave his club a 2-1 lead with his 27th of the
season. Brown has nine goals and 14 points in his last six
games. Kettles allowed two goals on 15 first-period shots, but
turned aside all 20 shots over the final two frames for the win.
Shawn McNeil netted his team-leading 31st marker 5:33 into the
second for a 3-2 lead and his team-best sixth game-winner for
Louisiana, which has won eight of its last 12 (8-2-2). Marquis
Mathieu assisted Dwayne Blais 41 seconds into the match and
tallied his 12th with 5:02 left in the first for Baton Rouge,
which has dropped 11 of its last 13 (1-11-1). Niklas Sundberg
made 27 saves in defeat.