IceCaps downed in shootout
Photos courtesy Vincent Ethier
Blow two-goal lead in third period in 3-2 loss
By Don Power
Director of Communications
David Aebischer allowed four straight shootout goals as the St. John’s IceCaps fell in a shootout to the Hamilton Bulldogs Friday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
Aebischer was solid throughout the game, but failed to stop two quick shots by Hamilton in the third period, as the home team rebounded from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game at two, forcing overtime, and eventually the shutout. After the extra five minutes resulted in no goals, the teams headed to a shootout, where the Bulldogs eventually prevailed, and recorded a 3-2 victory.
The IceCaps got on the board first when Shawn Weller was given a gift for his 10th goal of the season. Defenceman Arturs Kulda fired the puck into the Hamilton zone, where it took a funny bounce off the glass. When Bulldogs netminder Nathan Lawson tried to clear the bouncing puck, he sent it towards Weller, who deposited it into the virtually empty net.
St. John’s scored again early in the third period, as Ben Maxwell scored his seventh of the season on a beautiful play. The former Hab took a nice feed from Spencer Machacek and fired a bullet past Lawson to give the IceCaps a 2-0 lead and apparent control of the contest.
However, the final frame was all Hamilton. The Bulldogs outshot St. John’s 11-3, and got goals from Brian Willsie and Garrett Stafford – the latter coming on a power play in the final minutes of the game – to pull the Bulldogs even.
During a fast-paced overtime, both teams had chances but were turned away by stellar netminding. Aebischer stoned Philip DeSimone, who was left alone in the slot, but couldn’t solve the Swiss goalie.
But the best chance came off the stick of Jason King. After taking a nice feed from defenceman Jason DeSantis, King one-timed his shot and looked to have given the IceCaps the victory. However, Lawson’s left leg stopped the puck, and forced the shootout.
There the IceCaps got off to a good start, leading 3-1 after four shots. However, Hamilton scored on its last five shots to secure the victory.
Head coach Keith McCambridge showed his class with a nice gesture for the club’s starting lineup. With former Montreal Canadiens goalie Aebischer starting in net, McCambridge also rewarded three forwards with ties to the city and team with a position at centre for the opening faceoff. Former Habs Garth Murray and Ben Maxwell were joined in the starting lineup by newly-acquired Maxime Macenauer, a native of nearby Laval.
The start spurred Maxwell, who was one of – if not the – best IceCaps player Friday night, earning third star honours.
The IceCaps will now remain in Montreal until Sunday before they head to Binghamton for a Tuesday night encounter against the Senators.
Catch all the action with broadcaster Brian Rogers on 930 AM This is Newfoundland Labrador or via the web at www.stjohnsicecaps.com. Pregame show begins a half hour before puck drop.
Game Photos (Vincent Ethier)