IceCaps fall to Marlies
Can’t overcome rough first period in 4-2 loss
By Chris Doyle
St. John’s, NL – A bad start was too deep a hole to dig out of for the St. John’s IceCaps.
The IceCaps fell behind 3-0 in the first period and could not recover, dropping a 4-2 decision to the Toronto Marlies Tuesday night at Mile One Centre.
Mike Zigomanis and Marcel Mueller scored in the first 1:57 of the opening frame and Joe Colborne added a goal with just 26 seconds remaining in the period to pace the Marlies attack. Eric O’Dell and Jason King scored for St. John’s (21-9-4-1), which saw its modest two-game winning streak snapped.
Goaltender David Aebischer had his first rough outing since a November game in Bridgeport, getting pulled after allowing three goals on 13 shots in the first period. Zigomanis got the visitors on the board on the first shift of the game, converting a pass on an odd-man rush to give Toronto a 1-0 lead. Just 1:40 later, Marcel Mueller gave the Marlies a two-goal lead and forced IceCaps head coach Keith McCambridge to call a timeout to regroup.
St. John’s appeared to have weathered the storm until a fluky play left the team down three after 20 minutes. Colborne had his shot hit a stick and pop straight up in the air, only to come down over Aebischer’s head and into the back of the net with 26 seconds on the clock, ending the first period on a sour note.
“I thought we looked tired right from the start,” McCambridge told the waiting media after the game. “The first two shifts we get ourselves down and dig a hole. Then the goal that really put the nail in the coffin was the one at the end of the first period.
“I thought we looked a step behind there. I thought we looked like a tired hockey club.”
The second period was much of the same domination by the Marlies, who outshot the IceCaps 11-5 in the frame. St. John’s managed to get on the board at the 16:27 mark on a nice rush by Jason Gregoire and O’Dell. Gregoire made a nifty move to gain the zone and fed O’Dell, who moved to the middle of the ice and snapped a shot through the legs of Marlies goaltender Jussi Rynnas to make it 3-1.
However, just 32 seconds later, Marlies captain Ryan Hamilton coasted in on a breakaway and deked Peter Mannino, who replaced Aebischer at the start of the period, to restore the three-goal lead for Toronto. Mannino was sharp for 40 minutes, stopping 16-of-17 shots and bailing out his team on several occasions.
In the third, King deflected a Jason DeSantis point shot on an IceCaps power play to cut the lead in half, but that was as close as the home team would get. St. John’s showed plenty of jump in the final frame, firing 16 shots at the Marlies net and controlling the play for much of the period, but the Marlies’ early lead proved insurmountable.
“We’ll try to recharge, get our focus back and clean up our game,” McCambridge said of Wednesday night’s rematch at Mile One. “There are areas of our game – tired or not – that need to be better: turnovers, mental decisions. We’ve got to make sure we’re not giving a dangerous hockey club some glorious scoring chances. “
The Wednesday rematch concludes their two-game series, and will leave just one more match with Toronto this regular season. Catch all the action with Brian Rogers at www.stjohnsicecaps.com and on 930 AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador. Pregame show begins at 7:00 p.m. with the drop of the puck scheduled for 7:30 (all times NL).
Game Photos (Jeff Parsons)