November 22, 2002

Kingfish fall to IceGatos 3-2
Baton Rouge Kingfish Press Release

The Kingfish could not hold an early 1-0 lead and Brian Leitza made 27 saves for the Kingfish as Baton Rouge fell to the IceGators 3-2 at the Cajundome.

Kevin Tucker gave the Kingfish an early 1-0 lead on a slap shot from the point as he beat Frederic Cloutier at the 5:57 mark of the first period of play. Clark Jones and Ryan Trsek added the assists on just the third first goal of a game by the Kingfish this season.

The lead didn’t hold up though, as Brainslav Kvetan beat Brian Leitza on a centering feed from Bruce Richardson, Semir Ben-Amor at the 12:13 mark of the period to tie the game at 1-1.

Louisiana took a 2-1 lead on a goal by Tony Tuzzolino just a minute and a half into the second period. Bruce Richardson and Daniel Goneau set up the play.

The Kingfish fall to 0-10-2 when trailing after two period, tied the game up at 2-2 early in the third period on a power play goal by Clark Jones. The Kingfish cycled the puck in the IceGator’s zone as Glen Crawford found Jones open in the low slot and fed him the puck. Marquis Mathieu added an assist on the goal just 2:16 into the period.

Louisiana picked up the game winner four minutes later as Ben-Amor beat an outstretched Leitza over his left pad for the 3-2 lead. Kenny Corupe fed a wide open Ben-Amor at the right point. Louis Mass also added an assist on the goal.

The Kingfish dropped their 11th straight and have not won since October 26th, when they beat Louisiana 3-1 at the Centroplex.

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November 22, 2002

Unsung heroes again lead the way
Louisiana Ice Gators Press Release

Lafayette, LA – Semir Ben-Amor’s first North American pro goal snapped a tie at the 6:30 mark of the third period, lifting the Louisiana IceGators to a 3-2 win over the Baton Rouge Kingfish at the Cajundome.

Branislav Kvetan scored his second pro goal in 101 games and Tony Tozzulino added his first tally as an IceGator as Louisiana won for the fourth time in five games. Frederic Cloutier made 30 saves for his second straight victory, improving to 8-3-2. The win moved the IceGators into a tie atop the Southwest Division standings.

Kevin Tucker and Clark Jones each scored and Brian Leitza had 27 saves in his season debut for the Kingfish, who scored first for just the third time this season but saw their winless streak extended to a new franchise-record of 11 games (0-8-3).

Ben-Amor had two goals in 60 games in the past two seasons playing in the top league in Finland, but he picked a perfect time for his first North American score. Ben-Amor, a member of the IceGators’ hard-working and shorthanded third line, earlier assisted on Kvetan’s tally.

Louis Mass passed the puck up ice to Kenny Corupe along the left boards. Corupe found himself surrounded by two Kingfish players at the blueline, and somehow got a blind pass off to Ben-Amor, all alone at the top of the right circle. Ben-Amor walked in and snuck a low shot short size on Leitza for his first goal in North America at the 6:30 mark.

Things appeared to turn the way of the Kingfish after the IceGators got on a 5-on-3. A minute later, Louisiana found themselves down two men for nearly two full minutes, and didn’t allow a shot in the span.

At the 13:20 mark, Glen Crawford had a partial breakaway, but fired the shot wide. Baton Rouge had a frantic chance in the final five seconds, but Cloutier covered up the puck in a pile of players to preserve the victory.

“It was a well fought game considering both teams were playing shorthanded,” said IceGators head coach and vice president of hockey operations Dave Farrish. “I thought both teams played very well. We were fortunate, and used some more unsung heroes. That’s just the type of play you need when you’re shorthanded.”

Tucker got things started for Baton Rouge at the 5:57 mark with his second goal of the season – first with the Kingfish. A loose puck rattled around the boards to Tucker at the point, and Tucker ripped a one-timer high glove side on Cloutier. The goal marked just the third time in 18 games this season that Baton Rouge has scored first.

Kvetan’s tally came at the 12:13 mark, just 21 seconds after an IceGators power play expired.

Ben-Amor streaked into the Baton Rouge zone along the right boards and went behind the net. Ben-Amor attempted a wraparound but was hooked off the play. Ben-Amor, falling to the ground, somehow got the puck to Kvetan on the doorstep. The third-year defenseman, playing forward due to a callup, injuries and suspensions, poked the puck past Leitza, who was looking over his other shoulder, for the second goal of his 101-game career. Kvetan’s other score was a shorthanded tally nearly a year ago – November 29, 2001, against Arkansas.

“When you’re four or five guys short, everyone’s got to contribute,” said Farrish. “They get more quality ice time than maybe they’re used to, and they responded by making some great plays.”

Cloutier came up big several times, particularly in the final five minutes of the period. With 3:38 left, he gloved a shot that Sean Peach ripped from the point that seemed destined for the back of the net.

Tuzzolino and Richardson worked a perfect 2-on-1 early at 1:33 of the second to put the IceGators on top. Daniel Goneau hit Richardson with a nice pass coming down the middle into the Baton Rouge zone, and Tuzzolino joined the play on the right wing. Richardson waited for the defender and Leitza to commit and slipped a pass to Tuzzolino, who settled the puck before getting it over the sprawled netminder for the 2-1 edge.

Jones knotted the score at 2-2 at 2:16 of the second, scoring for the first time on its sixth power play chance of the night. Just nine seconds after Goneau went to the box for elbowing, Jones took a feed from Crawford at the bottom of the right circle and poked it past Cloutier.

The IceGators had a chance to go back in front 1:31 later, but Leitza intercepted a pass across the crease from Goneau to Tuzzolino on a 2-on-1.

The IceGators finished 0-for-6 on the power play. Baton Rouge was 1-for-9, failing to score on a pair of 5-on-3’s.

“The penalty trouble started to put a bit of a strain on our short bench,” said Farrish. “But the guys did a great job. And, once again, Cloutier was our best penalty killer.”

Gator Bites:

Kvetan’s tally followed up another unlikely goal that won Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over Mississippi. In that contest, Louis Mass scored his first pro goal late in 77 games late in the third period.

Tonight marked Richardson’s fourth multiple point game this season, and his second multiple assist game.

Tuzzolino scored his first goal since February 9 of last season with Providence, against Springfield.

Ben-Amor had four points in 60 pro games in Finland, and he already has six points in 14 games as a pro in North America.

Four of Jones’ seven goals this season have come against the IceGators. He has half of Baton Rouge’s eight goals versus Louisiana this season.

Leitza dropped to 3-10-0 all-time against the IceGators, the most losses by any netminder against Louisiana.