IceCaps grab two points with shootout victory
By Chris Doyle
Garth Murray scored in the third period and notched the only goal in the shootout, while David Aebischer stopped all five Sharks shooters to propel the St. John’s IceCaps past the Worcester Sharks 3-2 Sunday afternoon at the DCU Center in Worcester.
Murray scored midway through the third period to temporarily give the IceCaps the lead, and provided more offence in the shootout, going to the backhand and beating Sharks All-Star goaltender Tyson Sexsmith.
After backing up Eddie Pasquale Friday and Saturday, Aebischer got the call Sunday and shut the door, stopping 22-of-24 shots to earn his 12th win of the season.
Despite playing their third game in three days, the IceCaps showed little signs of fatigue throughout the game, matching the Sharks’ aggression and battling hard to come away with a big two points.
After a scoreless first period, the Sharks got on the board first at 2:27 of the second on a power play goal by Brandon Mashinter, who was parked in front of Aebischer. Mashinter took a pass from Nathan Moon behind the net and converted for his sixth of the year to make it 1-0 Sharks.
The IceCaps tied it up at the 9:09 mark on a pretty passing play that was finished off by Ben Maxwell. Spencer Machacek gained the offensive zone and dropped the puck to a pinching Zach Redmond, who fed Maxwell in the slot. Maxwell found the back of the net for his fourth of the season to make it a 1-1 game.
St. John’s took the lead midway through the third period when Murray deflected a Kenndal McArdle shot off a great rush by Carl Klingberg. Klingberg barrelled towards the net on the right side and used Murray as a decoy, instead passing to a trailing McArdle. The winger, who was a healthy scratch Saturday night in Portland, fired a shot that was redirected by Murray into the top corner of the net.
The IceCaps controlled the pace for most of the rest of the period until Worcester pressed hard towards the end of the third. The Sharks’ efforts paid off when Mashinter was briefly left unattended in front of the net after a faceoff and cashed in his second of the game, finding the puck after a scramble in front of Aebischer. Worcester had the net empty looking for the equalizer when Mashinter lit the lamp with 1:27 left in regulation time, knotting the score at two and sending the game to overtime.
The extra frame saw a flurry of back-and-forth activity, with both teams trading chances. Neither goaltender budged, however, and the game went into a shootout to decide the winner.
Murray was the only skater to score for either team, and Aebischer denied each of the Sharks’ five shooters to send the visitors away with two points.
The win by St. John’s increases its lead atop the Atlantic Division to six points over second-place Worcester. The teams meet for a two-game set at Mile One Centre Feb. 3 and 4.
Next on the schedule for the IceCaps is a visit to Bridgeport to face the Sound Tigers on Wednesday. Catch all the action with Brian Rogers at www.stjohnsicecaps.com and on 930 AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador. Puck drop is set for 8:30 p.m. with the pregame show beginning at 8:00 (all times Newfoundland).