Falcons feast on depleted IceCaps
By Chris Doyle
The St. John’s IceCaps ran into yet another team vying for one of the final Eastern Conference playoff spots Saturday night and dropped its second straight game, losing 6-3 to the Springfield Falcons Saturday night at Mile One Centre.
Nathan Longpre and Andrew Joudrey both had a pair of goals for Springfield while Nick Drazenovic added three assists in the win. Eric O’Dell notched the hat-trick for St. John’s (41-23-5-3) but it was not nearly enough.
The IceCaps were thoroughly dominated at both ends of the ice, outplayed by a Falcons squad hungry to keep pace in the Eastern Conference standings for a shot at making the postseason. St. John’s was unable to handle an aggressive Springfield forecheck and had problems moving the puck up ice without the services of Paul Postma and Jason DeSantis, both of whom missed the game due to injury.
“I thought we didn’t compete very hard tonight, at all for that matter,” head coach Keith McCambridge stated. “Again we didn’t have enough guys showing up to play here tonight.
“Tonight was not the way that we’ve shown the way we can play. It’s not the way we mold ourselves to play the game of hockey. It wasn’t anywhere what we need.
“If we think that other teams are looking to see how many injuries we have, or how many call-ups, and feel sorry for us, then we’re mistaken. There’s nobody looking at the losses and feeling sorry for the St. John’s IceCaps.”
O’Dell got the home side on the board early in the first with a nice solo effort. The Ottawa native took a drop pass from John Albert off the rush and headed towards the slot, fending off a Falcons defender and using one hand to poke the puck underneath a surprised Paul Dainton.
Springfield tied things up at the 11:09 mark on a power play after Garth Murray was sent off for hooking. Nick Drazenovic cleanly won the ensuing draw back to Falcons leading scorer Martin St. Pierre, who wired a shot that found the top corner of the net past Aebischer.
Just 1:06 later, Springfield took the lead after Andrew Joudrey deflected a Greg Amadio point shot that caught Aebischer off guard. The Falcons finished the opening frame with two goals on just three shots.
The second period was more of the same for St. John’s, as the Falcons came on strong. Longpre scored his first of two on yet another Falcons power play when he picked Travis Ramsey’s pocket after the IceCaps rearguard circled his own net. Longpre quickly snapped a shot underneath the crossbar on the glove side to give the visitors a 3-1 advantage.
At the 10:56 mark, Longpre added his second of the night after a nice pass from Sean Collins down low. Collins won a battle for the puck in the corner and fired a backhand pass out front, where Longpre was waiting for the one-timer to make it 4-1. The goal would spell the end of Aebischer’s night, as the veteran netminder was replaced by Eddie Pasquale.
Pasquale wouldn’t fare much better immediately, however, as the first shot he faced eluded him for Springfield’s third tally of the period. Drazenovic fed a streaking Joudrey who cut to the net and slipped a backhand through Pasquale’s legs for a 5-1 lead.
The IceCaps played a much stronger final period and would get one back in the third on a power play to make it 5-2. Zach Redmond’s point shot was stopped and O’Dell potted his second of the night on the rebound, sweeping the puck past Dainton.
However, the Falcons came right back to restore the four-goal lead when Cody Goloubef’s shot from the point found the back of the net past a screened Pasquale.
O’Dell capped off the hat trick at 12:56 of the third with an admirable effort, following his own shot attempt and backhanding his rebound past Dainton for his ninth of the season.
“My first professional hat trick,” O’Dell said. “I’m pretty excited for that. But then we lost the game, so it’s pretty tough to celebrate.”
St. John’s and Springfield wrap up their two-game set Sunday afternoon at Mile One, the final home game of the regular season for the IceCaps.
Catch all the action with play-by-play broadcaster Brian Rogers at www.stjohnsicecaps.com and on 930AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador. Pregame show begins at 3:30 p.m. with the drop of the puck set for 4:00 p.m. (all times Newfoundland).
With his three goals Saturday, C Eric O’Dell now has five points (3g, 2a) in three games since returning from an injury that sidelined him for seven games in March….D Will O’Neill was the only IceCap with a positive plus-minus rating (+1)….Falcons F Tim Spencer played one season at Mile One Centre with the St. John’s Fog Devils back in 2006-07, recording 141 penalty minutes in 62 games….F Adam Mair also played in St. John’s, suiting up for 113 regular season games and notching 94 points and 193 penalty minutes. Mair did not make the trip with the team, however….The IceCaps are just 6-13-2-1 when trailing after the first period….St. John’s went 1-for-3 on the power play while the Falcons converted on 2-of-3 attempts with the man advantage….In addition to Sunday’s matchup, the two teams will square off again next Saturday in Springfield. The Falcons lead the season series 1-0-1-0….The IceCaps sold out their 37th consecutive home game this season and will attempt to make it a full season of sellouts Sunday afternoon.
Photos (Jeff Parsons)