IceCaps fall in shootout
By Chris Doyle
Portland, ME – The St. John’s IceCaps got their first taste of a shootout but it wasn’t a flavour they want to remember.
Patrick O’Sullivan, Andy Miele and Brock Trotter scored in the shootout and Curtis McElhinney stopped all three IceCaps shooters to lift the Pirates to a 4-3 victory. Despite the loss, St. John’s picked up a point for the 12th straight game on the road and has recorded a point in all 12 games away from Mile One Centre this season.
The game was an entertaining back-and-forth affair that saw three lead changes and plenty of great play by the goaltenders. David Aebischer was sensational for St. John’s making 29 saves, including a handful of spectacular stops in a second period dominated by the Pirates.
Former Pirate Brett Festerling got the scoring started just 17 seconds in the opening period when he blasted a slapshot past McElhinney for his second of the season. Assisting on the play was Paul Postma, who extended his point streak to a team-record seven games.
The Pirates tied the game at 14:53 of the first when Marc-Antoine Pouliot tipped a shot from Nathan Oystrick past Aebischer for his fourth of the season. The teams headed off the ice tied at one.
The IceCaps once again took the lead when Jason DeSantis wired a shot past McElhinney on the power play, his fifth goal of the season. The lead would last for all of 11 minutes, as Portland veteran Brett MacLean scored twice in two minutes, his ninth and tenth of the season, to give the Pirates a 3-2 lead.
The lead was short-lived for Portland, however, as John Albert broke in all alone and went five-hole on McElhinney with 34 seconds remaining in the middle frame to send the teams to the dressing room knotted at 3.
Aebischer’s play in the second period was sensational and kept the IceCaps in the game, despite being outplayed by the Pirates. St. John’s was outshot by Portland 18-9 in the middle frame.
In the third period, the IceCaps turned the tables and pressed hard, outshooting Portland 15-6. Like Aebischer in the second, McElhinney stood tall in the crease to keep the score tied and send the game to overtime.
Neither team could find the back of the net in the extra frame, despite a four-on-three power play for St. John’s after Brock Trotter took an interference penalty in the dying seconds of the third.
The IceCaps had no luck in their first-ever shootout. Aebischer allowed goals on three-of-four shots, while all three shooters for St. John’s were denied.
The single point moved St. John’s back into first place in the Atlantic Division, one point up on idle Manchester. The IceCaps and Pirates do battle again Sunday afternoon (5:30 p.m. in Newfoundland), the final game for St. John’s before a nine-day Christmas break. All the action can be heard at www.stjohnsicecaps.com and on 930 AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador with broadcaster Brian Rogers. Pregame show begins at 5:00 p.m.