Game 3 Preview: IceCaps at Penguins
Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal between the St. John’s IceCaps and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins goes tonight at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, PA.
The IceCaps took Game 1 by a 3-1 margin Tuesday night, dominating the play for the majority of the night. Brock Trotter scored a pair of breakaway goals while Eddie Pasquale made 19 saves for his fourth win of the playoffs as the IceCaps fired the opening salvo and took a 1-0 series lead.
Wednesday’s Game 2 was the complete opposite result for St. John’s, as they were out chanced and outplayed the entire night in a 3-1 loss. Pasquale was once again sharp, stopping 35 shots, but received little help in front of him. The game-winning goal came early in the third period when the Penguins capitalized shorthanded on some sloppy play by St. John’s in their own end. Joey Mormina’s tally put the Penguins up 2-1, and Jason Williams’ power play marker minutes later was all the insurance they would need.
An interesting trend this season has been the number of shorthanded goals scored by both teams when the IceCaps and Penguins hook up. In six regular season and playoff meetings, the IceCaps and Penguins have notched a combined six goals when down a man. These momentum swings are even more crucial in the postseason.
“With the shorthanded goal, they kind of took the momentum, kinda just deflated us a bit,” said Brock Trotter. “Special teams are a big part of the playoffs, just like in any game. We have to make sure we’re better at both ends.”
The focus for St. John’s in Game 3 will be to forget Wednesday’s blip on the radar and come out strong in the visitor’s building. The players do not need to be reminded what is at stake.
“We have a lot of good leaders in the dressing room,” Trotter stated. “Sometimes you don’t really need to be told…a lot of times you already know. We have a lot of smart guys in the room. We know what we have to do.”
Catch all the action with play-by-play broadcaster Brian Rogers at www.stjohnsicecaps.com and on the radio at 930AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador. Fans can also view the game streaming live at www.ahllive.com. Pregame show begins at 8:00 p.m. with puck drop set for 8:30 (all times Newfoundland).
• Penguins D Joey Mormina has two shorthanded goals versus the IceCaps this season, and both have been game-winners at Mile One Centre. The other came back on Jan. 14 when the Penguins skated away with a 6-4 win.
• The Penguins have averaged 5,024 fans per game in three playoff contests at Mehegan Sun Arena in Wlikes-Barre
• Derek Meech leads all defencemen in playoff scoring with six points (3G, 3A) and is tops amongst all players in plus/minus rating at plus-seven through six games
• St. John’s has been outscored 6-4 in the first period this postseason; Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has outscored its opponents 7-4 in the opening frame
• Captain Jason Jaffray has joined the team in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and will serve as an assistant coach for Game 3