IceCaps blank Bruins
Pasquale stops all 29 shots to record shutout
By Chris Doyle
Eddie Pasquale stopped all 29 shots he faced as the St. John’s IceCaps shut out the Providence Bruins 2-0 Tuesday night at Mile One Centre.
Paul Postma and Travis Ramsey scored for St. John’s (29-12-5-1) in a game that was vastly different from the recent two-game series against the rowdy Worcester Sharks.
After the IceCaps and Sharks racked up a combined 112 minutes in penalties Saturday, the two teams accounted for just five minor penalties Tuesday night. St. John’s was a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill, clogging the shooting lanes and forcing everything to the outside.
“Each team that comes in here is going to be different. They (Providence) have some strengths that Worcester doesn’t have,” Ramsey said. “We didn’t need to change our game. We know what we do well and we just wanted to take it to them at that point.”
With many key regulars out of the lineup, the IceCaps used a persistent forecheck to wear down the Bruins and limit the opposition’s scoring chances. Forwards Jason Jaffray, John Albert, Patrice Cormier and Jason Gregoire were all unable to dress, forcing coach Keith McCambridge to go with 11 forwards and seven defencemen. Included in that total was the addition of three new bodies into the lineup, in defenceman John Negrin, and forwards Mike Forney and Josh Lunden.
“For a game where we’re coming off two really hard-fought games against Worcester, I thought the guys found a way to really dig down and make plays,” McCambridge said in his post-game scrum. “It wasn’t the prettiest game by both teams. But what we expected out of the game, with the numbers we have and some of the new faces, I though overall it was a solid game.
“(We’re missing) big pieces, but that is the American Hockey League. You have injuries, you have call-ups. We’ll just deal with it day by day.”
After a tight-checking, scoreless first period, the IceCaps got on the board at the 11:32 mark of the middle frame on an odd-man rush. Postma jumped up into the play and took a pass from Riley Holzapfel, and after fanning on his initial attempt in the slot, converted on his second shot to put St. John’s up 1-0.
The score stayed that way until the 6:40 mark of the third period when Ramsey added the insurance marker. Newly-acquired defenceman John Negrin swung the puck to the right point for Ramsey, who fired a slap shot through traffic that beat Bruins netminder Anton Khudobin on the short side to give the IceCaps a 2-0 advantage.
“I was just trying to get the puck on net, honestly,” Ramsey said of his goal. “My head was down. Before that my head was down and I hit the ref.”
Pasquale was able to shut the door on a Bruins comeback attempt, turning aside 11 shots in the final frame to notch his second shutout of the season and second in his last three starts. The 21-year-old goaltender now has victories in each of his last four starts dating back to a 4-3 shootout win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Jan. 25.
“The guys played well in front of me, and we pulled it out,” Pasquale said of the shutout. “I felt good in there, and the D were clearing the pucks in front of me. I know I let out a couple of big rebounds but they took care of any second opportunities. “
“He’s earned his minutes. He’s earned the games he’s played,” McCambridge said of Pasquale. “He’s made some big saves for us, and especially since we’ve gone down to two goaltenders. He’s a good, young goaltender who continues to get better every day. It was a strong game by him. He’s had some really good back-to-back games here, so he’ll go again (Wednesday).”
The win by the IceCaps gives them 64 points on the season, good for a one-point lead atop the Eastern Conference ahead of idle Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. St. John’s also temporarily stretches its lead to eight points over second place Manchester in the Atlantic Division.
The IceCaps will look to cap off the four-game season series versus the Bruins with a win Wednesday night at Mile One Centre. Catch all the action with IceCaps play-by-play broadcaster Brian Rogers at www.stjohnsicecaps.com or on 930AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador. Pregame show starts at 7:00 p.m. with the drop of the puck set for 7:30 (all times Newfoundland).
Jason Jaffray, John Albert, Patrice Cormier and Jason Gregoire, casualties of the physical weekend series with the Sharks, all sat out with various injuries….Marco Rosa remains sidelined with a head injury, and has now missed 18 straight games….Paul Postma’s goal was his 10th of the season, tying him with Chicago’s Kevin Connauton for the most amongst AHL defencemen. Postma now has a three-game goal scoring streak….Defenceman John Negrin, obtained in a trade with Calgary, made his IceCaps debut Tuesday, recording an assist. Call-ups Michael Forney and Josh Lunden also made their debuts for St. John’s….Forward Spencer Machacek was reassigned to St. John’s Tuesday afternoon and will be available for Wednesday night’s contest….Tuesday’s game marked the 25th consecutive sellout for the IceCaps at Mile One Centre.
Game Photos (Jeff Parsons)