IceCaps go to work on Sunday
Club ends home stand with 6-3 win over Binghamton
By Chris Doyle
David Aebischer made 22 saves for his 14th win while Jason DeSantis added a pair of assists for St. John’s (32-12-5-1), which moved one point ahead of the Oklahoma City Barons for top spot in the American Hockey League. Maxwell finished the game with three points, the ninth time this season an IceCaps player has reached that milestone.
Special teams played a big part in this contest, as the first four goals were all scored by the team with a man advantage, three by the home team. And is often the case with successful special teams, the end result is all that matters, regardless of how the goals looked.
“Some of the goals weren’t pretty, but that’s what you kind of need on your power play,” the captain and second star said following the contest. “You need some ugly ones. You need some dirty ones from behind the net, some bank-ins, stuff like that. We were definitely due for a game like that for sure.”
“We’ve got shooters up top and guys on the flanks who can make plays,” said head coach Keith McCambridge. “We were really good on the power play tonight.”
The IceCaps struck first on a power play 5:14 into the opening frame. Jaffray took a pass from Paul Postma and gained the zone on the left side, snapping a wrist shot past Senators goalie Mike McKenna high on the blocker side for his 14th of the season.
The Senators pulled even at the 8:47 mark on a power play of their own. Binghamton was granted a five-on-three man advantage when Zach Redmond was called for interference and Kenndal McArdle was called for kneeing on the delayed penalty. The Senators worked the puck around to Josh Godfrey, who one-timed a shot that beat Aebischer low to tie the game at one.
Late in the period, on yet another power play, Jason King restored the lead for St. John’s. Maxwell made a beautiful pass to King in the slot, who redirected the puck over McKenna’s right shoulder for his team-leading 15th goal of the season. The IceCaps took a 2-1 lead into the dressing room after 20 minutes of play.
Jaffray gave the IceCaps a two-goal lead early in the second on a five-on-three power play. After a failed clearing attempt by the Senators, Spencer Machacek made a great play as he was falling down, sweeping the puck to a wide open Jaffray at the side of the net. Jaffray buried the puck past a helpless McKenna for his second of the night and 15th of the season.
St. John’s added to its lead at 5:46 of the middle frame on Maxwell’s fifth of the season. Maxwell began to make his way around the net after an odd-man rush and banked the puck off McKenna and into the back of the net, giving the home side a 4-1 advantage.
In the third, St. John’s added to its lead after a turnover by the Senators in their own zone. Carl Klingberg picked up the puck and weaved his way around the defence before cutting across the crease and sliding home his 13th goal of the season for a 5-1 IceCaps lead.
Binghamton got back in the game with a pair of quick goals midway through the third. Jack Downing was the recipient on a generous bounce, as the puck found his stick right in front of Aebischer. The Connecticut native capitalized for his fourth of the season to make it 5-2. Then, just 47 seconds later, Derek Grant redirected a shot from the side boards to close the gap to 5-3.
However, the IceCaps would restore their three-goal lead on Maxwell’s second of the night, as he once again banked the puck in from behind the net to put the IceCaps in front 6-3.
The win by St. John’s caps an impressive six-game homestand in which the team went 5-1, and recorded wins in each of the last four games. Suddenly, the team’s home record of 15-10-3 doesn’t look so pedestrian after all.
“We’ve been talking for the majority of the season about building some back-to-back wins,” McCambridge said. “How hard it is to win back-to-back games in this league. That was a focal point we needed to check off this season. It’s a good start. There are a lot more home games as we come into March.
“We need to continue to win games on our home ice.”
The IceCaps are now 9-1 in their last 10 contests overall and head out on the road for seven games, beginning next Friday and Saturday in Hamilton and Toronto, respectively.
Catch all the action with IceCaps play-by-play broadcaster Brian Rogers at www.stjohnsicecaps.com and on 930AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador. Pregame show begins a half hour before puck drop.
The IceCaps extended their season-high home winning streak to four games and improved their home record to 15-10-3-0… Jason Jaffray finished the series with four points (3g, 1a), giving him 30 points in as many games this season… The IceCaps went 3-for-6 with the man advantage while successfully killing 5-of-6 penalties… Coming into the series, the Senators had allowed a league high 35.23 shots against per game, and surrendered a combined 86 shots in the two games against the IceCaps… Winnipeg Jets scout Jack Birch and Jets coordinator of player development Jimmy Roy were in attendance for the four games this week, continuing a trend of the parent club having at least one representative at each IceCaps game this season… St. John’s is on pace for 106 points this season… Sunday afternoon’s game marked the 28th consecutive sellout at Mile One Centre this season.
Game Photos (Jeff Parsons)