IceCaps fall flat against Bulldogs
NL native Slaney scores in 4-2 Hamilton victory
By Chris Doyle
The St. John’s IceCaps fell to the Hamilton Bulldogs for the third consecutive time with a 4-2 defeat Tuesday night at Mile One Centre.
Upper Island Cove native Robert Slaney scored the winner midway through the third period and was named the game’s first star, while goaltender Nathan Lawson made 32 saves for his fourth victory against the IceCaps this season.
“I believe there are 22 points separating us – 20 now after that loss,” head coach Keith McCambridge said of the Bulldogs in post-game media scrum that began without any questions being asked. McCambridge entered the scrum and started with his thoughts about his team’s performance, and the review was far from glowing.
“When we look at pre-scouts and we show the tendencies of another team, they’re offensive zone, neutral zone, D-zone coverage, faceoffs, if it’s now a matter of when a team comes in that doesn’t have as many points as us, if it comes down to us showing 15 clips of highlight reels of them showing goals to scare our guys to come out and compete at the level they need to, I’m not sure.
“I know that’s a rare exception for this team. That team usually comes and puts their best effort on the ice every night. But it wasn’t there (Tuesday) night.”
McCambridge said he could see early that the team didn’t have the jump or “compete level” to be in the game.
“The problem like that on a hockey team is when you come out like that, it’s very difficult to get you game back to where it needed to be. You can’t just all of a sudden push a button and think that you’re going to be at level five when you’re starting at level one.
“I knew we were going to fight an uphill battle to get our game to where it needed to be, and we never got it to where it needed to be to succeed against this team.”
After a scoreless opening 20 minutes, the Bulldogs struck first on a power play 8:03 into the second period. Ian Schultz attempted to make a centering pass when the puck deflected off a sprawling Travis Ramsey and slid underneath Eddie Pasquale to make it 1-0 Bulldogs.
After a flurry of chances by St. John’s – and a number of big saves by Lawson – King finally got the home team on the board at 18:44 of the second period on a power play. King banged home the rebound off a Patrice Cormier shot, sending the teams into the dressing room all square at one.
The third period turned out to be all Hamilton. Newfoundland-born Slaney gave the Bulldogs the lead at 11:19 of the final frame, converting on a nice feed from Gabriel Dumont behind the net. Slaney one-timed the pass into the net, beating Pasquale on the blocker side for his first goal as a Bulldog to put the visitors up 2-1.
The Bulldogs got a much-needed insurance marker at the 16:58 mark when Joey Haddad got two chances in front of the net on a broken play, and buried his own rebound for his first goal of the season, making it 3-1 Hamilton.
Andreas Engqvist added the empty-netter less than two minutes later, and a Redmond power play tally with five seconds left in regulation was a case of too-little, too-late for St. John’s.
With no other Eastern Conference teams in action, the IceCaps hang onto a 16-point lead over the Manchester Monarchs for top spot in the Atlantic Division, with a two-game series looming this weekend against their division rival.
The IceCaps and Bulldogs conclude their season series Wednesday night at Mile One Centre.
“We have to make sure we come with the compete level and the execution we’ve set the standard to play at,” McCambridge noted. “If we don’t, then we’re going to have the same lack of result (Wednesday) night.”
Catch all the action with play-by-play broadcaster Brian Rogers at www.stjohnsicecaps.com and on 930AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador. Tune in to the pregame show at 7:00 p.m. as Brian gets you set for a 7:30 p.m. puck drop (all times Newfoundland).
The IceCaps fall to 3-3-0-1 against the Bulldogs this season, and are losers of three straight….All-star defenceman Paul Postma was a minus-3 Tuesday and is now a team-worst minus-14 on the season….King’s second-period goal was his team-leading 18th and he has scored in consecutive games five times this season….St. John’s went 2-for-5 on the power play while the Bulldogs went 1-for2….Garth Murray, Max Macenauer, David Aebischer, Marco Rosa, Brock Trotter and Brett Festerling were all scratches….The IceCaps have sold out 31 straight home games this season.
Game Photos (Jeff Parsons)