Crunch slip past IceCaps in shootout
Syracuse erases two-goal deficit to win 3-2
ST. JOHN’S, NL – The IceCaps staked themselves to a two-goal lead but could not hang on, dropping a 3-2 shootout decision to the Syracuse Crunch Friday night in an entertaining game at Mile One Centre.
St. John’s led 2-0 midway through the second frame but Syracuse battled back to tie the game in the third period and eventually won in the shootout. Brett Connolly scored the only shootout goal and Riku Helenius stopped all five IceCaps’ shooters to notch the win and snap the Crunch’s four-game losing streak.
Meanwhile, the IceCaps dropped their fifth straight game and have lost two of the last three via the shootout. Jason Jaffray and Patrice Cormier scored for St. John’s while Eddie Pasquale provided an outstanding effort between the pipes, making 29 saves and denying four-of-five Crunch shooters.
Jaffray opened the scoring with just 38.6 seconds left in the opening period to give the home side a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission. The puck bounced out to centre ice and Jaffray chased it down, racing in alone on a breakaway before beating Helenius with a low shot for his 13th of the season.
Early in the second, the IceCaps converted on the power play to make it a 2-0 lead. Ben Maxwell took a feed in the high slot and hammered a shot on goal that was deflected nicely by Cormier, giving the IceCaps a two-goal advantage.
Syracuse cut the lead in half midway through the second frame on a goal by Tyler Johnson. On a two-on-one rush with the teams playing four-on-four, Johnson gobbled up the rebound off the Richard Panik shot and backhanded home his league leading 30th goal of the season to make it a 2-1 game.
The Crunch tied things up with 8:23 to go in the third period. Syracuse’s J.T. Brown gained the IceCaps’ zone and fed Dana Tyrell on the left side, and the Crunch winger wristed a shot high past a diving Pasquale to knot the score at two apiece.
Both teams had great opportunities to win the game in overtime. Syracuse received a power play to start the extra frame when Spencer Machacek took a slashing call at the end of regulation. The IceCaps were able to kill off the man advantage and went on a power play of their own with 50 seconds left in overtime, where Eric O’Dell was robbed on the doorstep at the buzzer by the left pad of Helenius.
Only Connolly found the back of the net in the shootout as both goaltenders stood their ground.
The IceCaps and Crunch finish their two-game series Saturday night at Mile One. Catch all the action with broadcaster Brian Rogers at stjohnsicecaps.com and on 930 AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador, or watch online at ahllive.com. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. with the pregame show beginning at 7:00.
Patrice Cormier has three goals in his last five games. Cormier earned the Mary Brown’s Hardest Working Player award for the second straight game… John Albert (upper body) returned from injury after missing the previous 14 games… Josh Godfrey made his IceCaps debut… Aaron Gagnon extended his point streak to four games (2G, 2A) with an assist in the second period… Ben Maxwell has a point in five of his last six games (2G, 4A)… St. John’s went 1-for-8 on the power play while Syracuse went 0-for-6… Friday’s Coors Light Three Stars: 1) Jason Jaffray 2) Tyler Johnson 3) Brett Connolly.
Photos (Jeff Parsons)