So close, but yet so far away.

Despite playing a solid 60 minute of hockey, the Louisiana IceGators allowed victory to slip through their fingertips, giving up third period goals en route to a 3-1 loss Friday night to the Pensacola IceFlyers.  Corey Banfield, Cole Ruwe, and John Clewlow each recorded a goal and an assist.

The IceGators return to action tonight at 7:05 p.m. when they play the Misssissippi RiverKings in the Cajundome.

“I told the guys that there are times where the game is out of your control, and that happened tonight,” IceGator head coach Drew Omicioli said.  “I think we did some really good things and played hard for 60 minutes.  Tonight, the game unfortunately got out of control.  The boys battled all night and ended up on the end of some blatant bad calls.  It’s the most frustrated I’ve been in my career.”

Banfield gave Pensacola a 1-0 midway through the first period when he scored off assists from Ruwe and Clewlow.

Louisiana tied the game with 7:30 left in the second period when Jeremy Boyer recorded a power play goal off feeds from Jeremy Hauswirth and Brad Bourke.

Pensacola regained control in the third period.  Ruwe put Pensacola ahead with 8:13 left in regulation with a score off a Banfield assist.  Clewlow added an insurance goal on an empty net with 12 seconds remaining.

The third period is also where the officials caught Omicioli’s ire.

“(Mike) Kavanagh received an elbow in the head and was down midway through the third,” Omicioli said.  “That should have been a major (penalty).  On the game-winner, Kavanagh was speared in the mid-section, causing him to fall down in excruciating pain.  While he was down, (Pensacola) scored, and that’s all she wrote.  It’s frustrating to battle that hard and have countless missed calls against us.”

Despite the disappointment and the frustration, the IceGators must quickly turn around and prepare for their two-game homestand tonight and tomorrow.

“We need to move on,” Omicioli said.  “We need to get prepared for Mississippi.”