Game 6 Preview: IceCaps vs. Penguins
By Chris Doyle
The St. John’s IceCaps get a second crack at advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals when they host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for Game 6 Friday night at Mile One Centre.
The IceCaps hold a 3-2 series lead after taking two-of-three at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre. St. John’s won Games 3 and 4 in overtime before falling in double overtime in Game 5 Tuesday night. Simon Despres scored the winning goal 12:08 into the second overtime period, giving the Penguins a 3-2 win and extending the series to its sixth game.
“Any time you can go on the road and take two games out of a possible three in an opposing team’s building, we’d be happy with that,” said head coach Keith McCambridge. “We knew it was going to be a real hard-fought series. I believe it’s unrealistic to think you’re going to take three straight in Wilkes-Barre’s building.
“Overall we did some real positive things, (had) some success taking the two, and are looking to build off that at home.”
Welcoming the club should be an excited group of white-clad fans anxious to see their team play again on home ice. The last game played at Mile One was a disheartening 3-1 loss in Game 2 of the series in which the IceCaps were outshot 38-23.
“You want home ice advantage, and we have that now,” McCambridge said. “We have two games here, and we need to win one of the games. It’s an opportunity on our home ice to have our crowd behind us and be that extra man, if you will, and I’m sure they’ll be that.”
The lineup McCambridge ices could look a little different from the last time the team took the ice at Mile One. After the Game 2 loss, McCambridge shuffled the deck and inserted winger Max Macenauer and defenceman Zach Redmond for Marco Rosa and Jason DeSantis, respectively. Macenauer and Redmond played all three games in Wilkes-Barre; Rosa has not played since, while DeSantis drew into the lineup for Game 5 when Arturs Kulda was scratched with a minor injury.
One player who has been steady the entire postseason is goaltender Eddie Pasquale, the owner of a tidy 2.05 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage while going 6-3. The rookie netminder has allowed just 10 goals in 341 minutes this series for a 1.76 goals-against average.
At the other end of the ice, Penguins goaltender Brad Thiessen has been nearly as sharp. The BC native sports a 1.96 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage this series, and bounced back from an early gaffe in Game 5 – he surrendered a goal in the first that Jason King softly dumped in from inside his own blue line – to record the victory. Thiessen was briefly knocked out of the game late in the third when a teammate’s stick inadvertently came underneath his mask and cut his forehead, but he was able to return a few minutes later without missing a beat.
Game 6 gets underway at 7:30 p.m. Newfoundland Time (5:00 Central). 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 see the game live on Rogers TV in Newfoundland and streaming online at www.ahllive.com. Pregame show begins 30 minutes prior to puck drop.