By Mark Simon
Special to NHL.com
March 26, 2004
Every year, the Louisiana IceGators go into the playoffs as one of the top teams, with one of the top goalie tandems in the league, and every time, they go home without winning the Kelly Cup.
Goalie Derek Gustafson is one who would like to change that.
“We’ve got real good chemistry and the right players to do it,” said the 24-year-old native of Gresham, Ore.
Gustafson is back in the ECHL after a two-season absence and enjoying a terrific campaign in combination with IceGators goalie Frederic Cloutier. This came after a run that included two stints totaling five NHL games and plenty of AHL work over the last two seasons. Gustafson is 26-12-0 with a 2.10 goals-against average and five shutouts entering the weekend. Gustafson’s GAA ranks second in the league and his shutout total is tied for the top spot. His partner in pads, Minnesota Wild prospect Frederic Cloutier is a not-so-shabby, 20-7-2 with a 2.35 GAA.
Louisiana has the Central Division title all but locked up with a 46-19-2 mark, good for 94 points.
“I think Freddy and I are the most talented (goalies) in the league,” Gustafson said. “I’m sure if you asked either of us, we’d say that we would love to play 50 games. But we feed off each other. We’ve sacrificed starts to try to win a championship.”