This game report appeared in The Birmingham News on Nov. 28, 1999.
Desrosiers less than pleased with Bulls’ performance
By Ed Odeven
Round One goes to the Louisiana Ice Gators.
The Birmingham Bulls’ fierce ECHL rival put the game out of reach during a key stretch in the middle period — scoring three goals in a span of 10:27 — en route to a 4-2 victory Saturday night before 5,007 at the BJCC in the first game of a home-and-home series with Louisiana.
“It was an awful performance, our worst game start-to-finish of the year. We were outshot, outhit, outskated,” Bulls head coach Dennis Desrosiers said. “The effort wasn’t there.”
Desrosiers dismissed the notion that fatigue might’ve been a factor.
“They played a game last night, too. That’s not an excuse,” he said.
The Ice Gators (10-7-2) consistently kept pressure on Bulls goaltender Scott Roche, who made 43 saves in the game. They took 47 shots. The Bulls (11-5-2) took 30.
Left wing Ian Herbert scored his ninth goal of the season on the power play at the 7:13 mark of the first period on a rising wrist shot out of the reach of Louisiana goalie Sean Gauthier to give Birmingham a 1-0 lead.
Ice Gators center John DePourcq scored the equalizer on a low slap shot past Roche, 3:39 into the second period. Right wing Jay Murphy assisted on the play.
Murphy got the go-ahead goal on a blast from the slot with 10:36 left in the period. Defenseman Matt Pagnutti feathered a pass to Murphy for the assist.
The Ice Gators made it 3-1 on defenseman Corey Neilson’s swift wrist shot from the right wing past Roche into the unprotected top-right corner of the net. Chris Bogas and Jason McQuat recorded assists.
The Bulls’ sluggish play in front of their own net was costly early in the final frame. Left wing Mike Kucsulain stole a pass in front of Roche and rifled one out of Roche’s reach into the net with 17:35 remaining.
Bulls left wing Scott Wray stole the puck near center ice and tallied a short-handed goal — the first of his professional career — on a breakaway backhander with 13:53 to go in the game. He spent the past three seasons with North Bay of the Ontario Hockey League.
These two teams will face each other again today in Lafayette, La.