By John L. Pitts/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Mississippi State’s Ice Dawgs returned to their home ice at the BancorpSouth Arena on Friday night and skated away with a 10-8 victory over LSU.
Chris Moore and R.C. Martin each scored a hat trick – three goals – as MSU delighted the cowbell-ringing crowd of 2,107.
The teams go at it again tonight at 7:30 p.m., in the final MSU home match of the season. Admission is $6.
“We were in a position to lose and we found a way to win,” said Ice Dawgs coach Mike Mayhew, who once skated on the BCS Arena ice as a member of the now-defunct Tupelo T-Rex. “LSU has a good team and they made us work hard for the victory. It was exciting.”
Mississippi State (4-7) finished the game way ahead in total shots – 59-30 by an unofficial tally – but had trouble pulling away from the visiting Tigers. The Ice Dawgs led 8-5 at the end of the second period, gave up a pair of third-period LSU goals and then responded with a pair of goals to regain a safe cushion.
LSU scored the final goal on a 5-on-3 power play with 2:11 to play.
“We were giving up 3-on-1 breakaways all night long,” said Mayhew, whose team had been idle since losing twice to Louisiana-Lafayette here in early December. “We have to learn how to feed off the energy of this crowd, which always does a great job of supporting us when we play here.”
In a briskly played first period, Moore scored his three goals – one on a power play – to lead Mississippi State to a 3-2 advantage. But LSU responded by scoring twice in a two-minute span for a 4-3 lead.
The teams were tied at 4 after the first period.
“Chris made a big impact for us early, but I knew it was just a matter of time before R.C. got it going,” Mayhew said.
Martin scored two of his goals in the second period and assisted on an Alex Yucatonis goal that made it 8-5. Martin’s third goal gave the Ice Dawgs a 9-7 lead with 8:10 remaining.
Josh Miller scored MSU’s final goal on a breakaway with 5:53 left.