IceCaps defeated by Crunch
ST. JOHN’S, NL – The IceCaps started strong but were outplayed for the final 40 minutes as the Syracuse Crunch walked away with a 4-2 win Saturday night and a two-game sweep at Mile One Centre.
Brett Connolly played the role of hero for the second consecutive night. After scoring the shootout winner Friday, Connolly notched the eventual game-winner in the third period on a deflection to send the Crunch to their third straight victory over the IceCaps this season. Riku Helenius stopped 23-of-25 shots while J.T. Wyman notched a goal and an assist in a first start performance.
Aaron Gagnon scored both goals for St. John’s and Eddie Pasquale stopped 31-of-35 shots in the loss.
St. John’s scored first for the second straight night on Gagnon’s first of two when he burst in on the right side and sent a pass towards the slot for Kael Mouillierat. The puck ended up taking a bounce in front and came right back to an open Gagnon, who shovelled in his fourth of the season to give the home team an early 1-0 advantage.
Gagnon added his second of the period with 3:59 to go in the frame on an IceCaps’ power play after Mike Angelidis was sent off for roughing. Patrice Cormier took the puck in the corner and fed Gagnon near the right hash marks, and the B.C. native one-timed it home to make it 2-0 St. John’s heading into the second period.
Syracuse cut the lead in half early in the second on a power play of its own. Matt Taormina took a feed at the point from J.T. Brown and deked before stepping into the slot and wiring a slapper past Pasquale to make it 2-1.
Midway through the frame the Crunch tied things at two. Wyman took a feed from Richard Panik off the rush and snapped a low wrister past Pasquale to make a 2-2 game after two periods. The IceCaps were outshot by the Crunch 19-2 in the middle stanza.
Syracuse forged ahead with 10:45 to go in the third period. Radko Gudas one-timed a shot from the left point that was tipped nicely by Connolly to put the Crunch up 3-2, a goal that would stand up as the winner.
Less than two minutes later, Syracuse added to its lead on Tyler Johnson’s league leading 31st of the season. Panik spun a sent a cross-ice pass to Johnson near the left hash marks and Johnson fired a shot into the top corner of the net to make it a 4-2 game.
St. John’s has lost six in a row overall and eight consecutive games at home.
The IceCaps finish up their six-game home stand next weekend with a pair of games Friday and Saturday against the Hamilton Bulldogs. Catch all the action with broadcaster Brian Rogers at stjohnsicecaps.com and on 930 AM, or watch online at ahllive.com. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. with the pregame show hitting the airwaves at 7:00.
Aaron Gagnon extended his point streak to five games (4G, 2A), tying a season high for an IceCaps player… Patrice Cormier has notched four points (2G, 2A) in his last four games… St. John’s tied a franchise low with two shots in the second period… Sunday, IceCaps players and coaches will take part in the team’s first-ever FanFest at Mile One Centre from 1-4 p.m. Fans can meet the players, play games, and win prizes as well as take part in fun activities including a kids zone with bouncy castles and face painting, a gaming zone, and much more. Raffle items include an Eddie Pasquale signed, game-worn military jersey, a Montreal Canadiens team-signed stick, and a Boston Bruins team-signed jersey. Cost of entry is $5 per person and $10 per family, and the event is free for season ticket holders. All proceeds benefit the IceCaps Care and Williams Family Foundations.
Photos (Jeff Parsons)