IceCaps blank Bulldogs in Copps
Photo: Denis Pellerin
HAMILTON, ON – David Aebischer stopped 21 shots to record his first shutout of the season as the St. John’s IceCaps blanked the Hamilton Bulldogs 4-0 in front of a sparse crowd at Copps Coliseum Friday night.
Aebischer, the game’s second star, wasn’t tested too often or with too many great scoring chances among the 21 shots. However he did come up big on the three or four times when a big save was required.
Spencer Machacek led the offence with two goals in a first star performance, while Marco Rosa and Jake Marto each chipped in with two assists.
Machacek opened scoring just 1:13 into the first with a goal off a Hamilton skate. Machacek skated behind the net and tried to centre the puck to Shayne Wiebe, who played on the first line in place of the injured Riley Holzapfel. Holzapfel broke an orbital bone in practice this past week and is out of action for a while.
The IceCaps second goal was a power play marker at 16:29 off the stick of Aaron Gagnon, who converted a rebound from a scramble and poked the puck home to send the IceCaps to the dressing room up 2-0 after 20 minutes of play.
Third star Eric O’Dell showed his skills in the second period when he scored his third goal of the season. O’Dell picked up a loose puck in the slot, skated to his right and rifled a wrist shot over the glove hand of Nathan Lawson, who was solid all night for the Bulldogs. It was the only goal of the second period.
Machacek closed off scoring at 5:54 of the third with his second goal, a beautiful backhander that eluded Lawson on the short side. Machacek was set up by a nifty pass from Wiebe, who intercepted the puck at the Hamilton blueline.
It was a strange game in terms of flow. After the game’s first whistle, referee Mark Lemelin realized that that the game clock failed to start. Then the flow was interrupted by numerous penalties, as each team had six power play opportunities, with the IceCaps getting the only goal with the man advantage.
Aebischer got his first start in net since Nov. 6 against Connecticut and had a solid opening period, facing 10 shots. Coach Keith McCambridge stated prior to the contest that he wanted Aebischer to get the feel of the puck again in game action, and that was accomplished in a relatively easy opening frame.
The team left Hamilton immediately after the game and headed to Toronto for a Sunday afternoon matchup with the Marlies. The Marlies lost to the Grand Rapids Griffins Friday night and play Houston at home Saturday afternoon before they face the IceCaps Sunday.
That game is a 2:30 NL time start. Catch all the action with Brian Rogers on the broadcast at www.stjohnsicecaps.com or 930 AM This is Newfoundland Labrador.
Game Photos (courtesy Denis Pellerin)