IceCaps fall to Monarchs
By Don Power
Director of Communications
A fired-up Manchester Monarchs team looking for a playoff spot was too much for the St. John’s IceCaps to handle Sunday, and the first-year AHL club lost its final regular season game 4-2.
St. John’s, which had secured second place in the Eastern Conference with a Friday night win in Worcester, dressed almost a full lineup Sunday, but the players took time to get familiar with one another, which led to the loss.
With the Monarchs pumped to clinch a playoff spot on the final day of the regular season, they came out flying, and kept the IceCaps on their heels in the opening period.
Manchester opened scoring at 6:15 when Andy Andreoff scored his first goal as a professional. The former Oshawa Generals star, playing just his fifth AHL game, redirected Jake Muzzin’s shot past Eddie Pasquale on a play that IceCaps defenceman Paul Postma was offside.
Less than two minutes later, Marc-Andre Cliché gobbled up a loose puck to score on Pasquale and give the home side a 2-0 lead at 8:12.
The second period was much better for St. John’s, although it didn’t translate on the score sheet. The score remained 3-0 Manchester after 40 minutes of play.
In the third, with the Monarchs prepared to defend their lead and reach the Calder Cup playoffs, they played a defensive game. St. John’s outshot the Monarchs 15-7 over the last 20 minutes, and got a pair of goals to make the game close.
Spencer Machacek looked to have made the score 3-1 on a howitzer of a shot on an IceCaps power play, but the officials determined that Patrice Cormier tipped the shot, and awarded the New Brunswick native the goal, his 18th of the season. The marker at 9:20 gave the club a glimmer of hope for victory, but it was snuffed out with 17:39 gone, when Brandon Kozun scored his 20th of the year, the second power play goal for Manchester in the contest.
Machacek did get on the board with his 18th, that one coming a bit too late, with just 22 seconds remaining in the game, making the final 4-2.
The club returned home via charter Sunday night to prepare for the 2012 Calder Cup playoffs. St. John’s opens the playoffs on the road, Friday, April 20 in Syracuse against the Crunch. Syracuse defeated Albany 2-1 on the final day of the season to squeak into seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
The IceCaps will have home ice advantage, having finished as the higher seed, but elected to take to the road to start, giving St. John’s the fifth and deciding game at Mile One if necessary.
The first two games of the series will be played Friday and Saturday, and the IceCaps will play their first home playoff game Wednesday, April 25.
Catch all the action with Brian Rogers at www.stjohnsicecaps.com or on 930 AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador.
G Eddie Pasquale made 22 stops in taking the loss… St. John’s finished 1-for-6 on the power play…Brock Trotter, Marco Rosa, Ray Sawada and Paul Postma all played Sunday. Max Macenauer did not travel with the team on the road trip, but may play next weekend….Machacek’s third period goal game him 50 points on the season, tops on the team.