IceCaps edge Whale 3-2
Machacek celebrates 24th birthday in style with game-winner
Spencer Machacek scored the game-winning goal at 7:55 of the third period to give the St. John’s IceCaps a 3-2 victory over the Connecticut Whale Sunday afternoon at the XL Center.
On his 24th birthday, Machacek banged home a rebound off his own shot on a St. John’s power play to give his team a lead they would not relinquish, and propel the IceCaps to the team’s first victory of 2012-13. Mark Dekanich was sensational in his IceCaps debut, making 35 saves for his first victory. Alex Burmistrov and Hunter Tremblay had a pair of assists each, while Zach Redmond and Max Macenauer also scored for St. John’s. Whale goaltender Scott Stajcer stopped 22-of-25 shots in getting tagged with the loss in his pro debut.
The IceCaps fell behind 1-0 at the 12:24 mark of the first period on a Connecticut power play. Kris Newbury took a feed from Sean Collins near the left faceoff circle and attempted to fire a centring pass. The puck banked off Aaron Gagnon’s skate and slid past Dekanich for the game’s first goal.
St. John’s drew even at 17:35 of the opening frame, just after a Whale penalty expired. Macenauer was initially robbed by Stajcer, but Tremblay got a stick on the rebound and sent the puck back in front, where Macenauer was waiting to backhand the puck into the net, tying the game at one.
Connecticut regained the lead 5:14 into the second on another power play. Rookie J.T. Miller’s shot off the rush from the left wing was stopped by Dekanich but the rebound found the stick of Kyle Jean, who converted to give the home side a 2-1 lead.
Despite being badly outplayed by the Whale in the middle period – Connecticut outshot St. John’s 15-5 – the IceCaps tied the game late in the frame on a power play of their own. Machacek fed Redmond in the high slot, and the All-Star defenceman wired a wrister that beat Stajcer to send the teams to the dressing room all square at two apiece.
The go-ahead goal came on the power play at 7:55 of the third period. Tremblay sent a pass out front to Machacek, whose first shot was blocked, but the birthday boy chopped at the puck and beat Stajcer for his second point of the game and first goal of the season to give the IceCaps a 3-2 advantage.
Both the IceCaps and Whale went two-for-five with the man advantage Sunday afternoon. St. John’s finishes its first road trip of the season with one win and one loss.
The IceCaps return home for their home opener on Friday, Oct. 19, when they welcome the Adirondack Phantoms to Mile One Centre for the first of two games. Catch all the action with broadcaster Brian Rogers at www.stjohnsicecaps.com and on 930AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador, as well as streaming live at www.ahllive.com and on television on Rogers TV. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. with the pregame show getting underway at 7:00 (all times Newfoundland).