IceCaps double up Whale
Stretch winning streak to five games in wild win
A penalty shot. A shattered pane of glass. A hat trick.
On a wild night at Mile One Centre, the St. John’s IceCaps scored early and often en route to an 8-4 victory over the Connecticut Whale on Saturday.
Captain Jason Jaffray scored three times – the second hat trick of the season for an IceCaps player – to lead St. John’s to its fifth straight win in the first of two against Connecticut. The Jaffray-Spencer Machacek-Marco Rosa line combined for eight points in the victory.
Jaffray opened the scoring just 1:14 into the game after zipping the puck past Whale netminder Cameron Talbot on a nice pass from Machacek. Defenceman Jason DeSantis then scored his third of the season on a rush down the wing to give St. John’s a 2-0 lead before the game was 10 minutes old.
Connecticut would get those two goals back after John Mitchell converted twice in a 2:12 span midway through the first period. The teams would exchange goals and head into the intermission tied at three.
The second period saw some crazy action in both ends of the rink. Whale forward Carl Hagelin was harassed on a breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot at the 6:33 mark. Hagelin made no mistake, roofing a backhander to give Connecticut a temporary lead.
Then, with 4:41 left in the frame, IceCaps centre Patrice Cormier collided with Whale defenceman Brendan Bell and shattered a pane of glass near the corner of the rink in the Connecticut zone.
That seemed to be the turning point in the game. After a break to replace the glass and clean up the mess – the teams took a full intermission break and played the final 4:41 at the beginning of the third period – St. John’s came out of the dressing room on a mission. Jaffray and Cormier scored a minute apart towards the end of the second to give the IceCaps a 5-4 lead. Carl Klingberg got a fortunate bounce and buried his team-leading eighth of the season at 1:11 of the third, while Marco Rosa deflected a DeSantis shot at 13:38 to give St. John’s a comfortable 7-4 advantage. Jaffray notched his third of the night with 36 seconds left in regulation time to seal the deal.
The IceCaps were buoyed by the support of the largest-ever recorded crowd for a hockey game at Mile One Centre. The announced attendance of 6,503 was the seventh consecutive sellout for the newest AHL franchise.
Saturday’s win gives the IceCaps 10 wins on the season and a three-point lead over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for top spot in the Eastern Conference. The IceCaps sit eight points up on the Providence Bruins for first place in the Atlantic Division.
St. John’s continues its six-game homestand with a matinee affair Sunday against the Whale. Catch all the action with Brian Rogers on 930 AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador and online at www.stjohnsicecaps.com. Puck drop is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. with the pre-game show beginning at 3:30.