IceCaps fall short in gutsy effort
ST. JOHN’S, NL – The St. John’s IceCaps fell just short in their comeback attempt against the Springfield Falcons Friday, falling 5-3 at Mile One Centre.
Trailing 3-1 heading into the final period, the IceCaps battled back to tie it at three, but ultimately fell just short in their comeback bid. Springfield’s Cam Atkinson scored the go-ahead marker with 4:06 left in regulation and added the empty-netter send the IceCaps (11-11-0-1) to their second straight loss. Atkinson finished the night with four points (two goals and two assists) while Jonathan Audy-Marchessault added a goal and an assist.
St. John’s got some offence from newcomer Kael Mouillierat, who scored in his first game as an IceCap after being signed along with Shawn Weller to help fill the void created by a rash of injuries to the club, which was missing eight regulars Friday night. Kevin Clark and Ray Sawada also scored for St. John’s, while Joey Sides picked up his first AHL points with a pair of assists. Eddie Pasquale made 23 saves on 27 shots in his eighth defeat of the season.
St. John’s opened the scoring just 2:22 in on Mouillierat’s first. Paul Postma took a pass at the point from Sides and blasted a slap shot that was stopped by Curtis McElhinney, but Mouillierat picked up the rebound and slid home the game’s first goal, giving St. John’s a 1-0 lead.
The Falcons tied it early in the second frame. After killing off a slashing penalty to defenceman David Savard, the Falcons scored on a man advantage of their own. Savard’s shot from the point went wide of the net but bounced off the end boards and right to Ryan Craig, who swept in the loose puck past a fooled Pasquale to knot the score at one.
Springfield took the lead later in the period on a play that resulted from another strange bounce. Dalton Prout flipped the puck into the centre ice area but it took a strange hop. Audy-Marchessault snagged the loose puck and scooted in alone, deking Pasquale with a nifty backhand move and firing a shot upstairs to put Springfield up 2-1.
Just 1:28 later, a breakdown in the neutral zone led to another Falcons goal. Nick Drazenovic carried the puck over the blueline on a two-on-one rush and chose to shoot, going top shelf over Pasquale’s right shoulder. That goal gave Sprintfield a two-goal advantage heading into the third period.
St. John’s drew within one just 2:44 into the final frame. Kevin Clark picked up a rebound in front of the net and poked home his second of the season to close the gap to 3-2.
With less than seven minutes left in regulation, the IceCaps tied the score on a beautiful goal by Sawada. Redmond sprung Sawada with a tape-to-tape stretch pass of about 120 feet to send Sawada in all alone, and the rugged forward made a swift backhand move to beat McElhinney up high and knot the game at three.
However, Springfield pulled ahead once again, this time for good. Prout’s initial shot was stopped by Pasquale, but Atkinson had several whacks at the rebound and eventually banged home a backhander to give the Falcons a 4-3 lead.
Atkinson later added an empty-netter to seal the 5-3 victory.
St. John’s was unsuccessful on six power play attempts, its second straight game without scoring a with the man advantage, although it wasn’t from a lack of effort. The club had several great chances to score with the man advantage in the third, but hit the post three times and couldn’t solve McElhinney. The IceCaps killed off three-of-four penalties.
The two clubs meet again Saturday night for the second of two games at Mile One Centre. Catch all the action with broadcaster Brian Rogers at www.stjohnsicecaps.com and on 930AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador, or watch online at www.ahllive.com. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. with the pregame show getting underway at 7:00 (all times Newfoundland).
Photos (Jeff Parsons)