IceCaps fall short against Sharks
Blow two-goal lead in 4-3 loss
By Chris Doyle
St. John’s, Newfoundland – The St. John’s IceCaps blew a two-goal second period lead as the Worcester Sharks came back for a 4-3 win at Mile One Centre Friday night.
Benn Ferriero and Tony Lucia scored within a two-minute span late the second period and Tommy Wingels potted the game-winner with just 4:07 left in regulation to lift the Sharks to victory. Peter Mannino stopped 28 shots in the loss, while counterpart Tyson Sexsmith turned aside 24-of-27 shots for his fifth win of the season.
The IceCaps once again allowed the opening goal of the game when Ferriero notched his seventh of the season on a three-on-two rush, converting a John McCarthy pass for the game’s first goal. The score would stay 1-0 until late in the first when IceCaps defenceman Zach Redmond fired a shot past Sexsmith for a power play goal, his third tally of the season. The teams headed off the ice tied at one after 20 minutes of play.
The IceCaps looked to be in control after scoring twice early in the second to take a 3-1 lead. Redmond’s second of the night, also with the man advantage, gave St. John’s the lead just 49 seconds into the period. Redmond took a pass from Paul Postma in the middle of the ice and wired a slapshot that found the back of the net untouched. Then, at the 5:52 mark, Patrice Cormier finished off an odd-man rush, wristing a shot past Sexsmith after a nifty feed from Ben Maxwell. Maxwell, playing in just his second game since being reassigned to St. John’s, picked up a pair of assists and looked dangerous all night.
“I thought we had a real good effort,” said head coach Keith McCambridge. “Worcester came out with a really good start, which we expected, but as the second started I thought we did a real good job hemming them in their zone.
“They get one off a stick in front, which was a nice play by them, and another one off the back glass and bounces out to the open man in front. Unfortunate turns in the game, but overall I thought we did a lot of good things. But we have to find a way to close these games out and get those two points.”
The Sharks battled back to tie the game late in the second on the goals by Ferriero, his second of the night, and Tony Lucia. Ferriero deftly deflected a Matt Pelech point shot that went just over Mannino’s left shoulder to make it 3-2, while Lucia took advantage of a strange bounce off the end boards for an easy tap in at the side of the net to tie it 3-3 heading into the final frame.
The teams played an even third period until Wingels knocked the puck past Mannino after a mad scramble in front of the IceCaps net for the eventual game-winner. The IceCaps attempt at a comeback in the late stages of the third was stymied by an aggressive Worcester forecheck, which saw all three forwards trap the IceCaps defencemen down low behind their own goal line.
“Losing like that is really tough,” said Redmond following the contest. “We know Worcester is one of the hardest teams and we expect their best effort again on Sunday.”
The game got chippy midway through the first period, as IceCaps forward Tommy Maxwell squared off with Sharks winger Jimmy Bonneau. Off the ensuing draw, Garth Murray and Curt Gogol dropped the gloves as well, sending the capacity crowd at Mile One into a frenzy. The IceCaps have now sold out all 15 home games to start the season, with Friday’s attendance of 6,287 bringing the season’s total to more than 94,000.
With the loss, the IceCaps fall to 15-6-4-0 on the season but still maintain a three-point lead atop the Eastern Conference and a five-point advantage in the Atlantic Division. St. John’s has lost two in a row overall and are 3-2-0-0 in the month of December.
The IceCaps will play their final home game before the Christmas break on Sunday afternoon as they finish up a two-game series with the Sharks. All the action can be heard at www.stjohnsicecaps.com or on 930 AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador with play-by-play broadcaster Brian Rogers. Puck drop is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. with the pregame show beginning at 1:30.
Game Photos (Jeff Parsons)