IceCaps rebound with win over Bears
Pasquale, Maxwell the heroes in 3-1 triumph
The St. John’s IceCaps rebounded from an ugly loss to best the Hershey Bears 3-1 in AHL action Friday night at the Giant Center in Hershey, PA.
After losing 3-0 to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Wednesday night in subpar performance all around, St. John’s outplayed Hershey for the majority of the game and took a valuable two points, keeping pace in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Ben Maxwell scored the eventual game-winner late in the second period while Eddie Pasquale bounced back with a 26-save performance for his 12th win of the season. Just two nights earlier, Pasquale was pulled after allowing three goals on 12 shots, but showed no ill effects Friday in guiding his team to victory.
Patrice Cormier and Ray Sawada each had a goal and an assist for St. John’s, which played a sound defensive game and capitalized on the chances it needed to in order to win the game.
After a scoreless opening period that saw the IceCaps outshoot the Bears 15-7, St. John’s finally broke the deadlock on its fourth power play of the night just past the midway point of the hockey game. All-star defenceman Derek Meech passed to Kael Mouillierat at the top of the right circle, and the IceCaps’ winger fired a wrister on goal that was redirected by Cormier and past Hershey goaltender Philipp Grubauer to make it 1-0.
Hershey drew even on a power play of its own at 15:54 of the middle frame. The Bears cycled the puck down low to Jeff Taffe, who made a terrific spinning backhand pass out front to Jon DiSalvatore, and the Hershey forward swiftly one-timed the puck to the top corner of the net to tie things at one.
The IceCaps retook the lead less than a minute later on a great rush by Maxwell. Ben Chiarot got the puck to Sawada at the side boards, who chipped it towards the Hershey blueline where Maxwell made a nice play to tip the puck past a defender. Maxwell cut hard to the net from the right side and made a deke to the forehand, sliding the puck past Grubauer to give the IceCaps a 2-1 advantage after 40 minutes of play.
The third period was all Pasquale, as he stopped 14 Bears shots to preserve the victory. Sawada added the empty-netter for good measure with 1:39 to go.
St. John’s went 1-for-5 on the power play while killing two-of-three shorthanded situations.
The IceCaps wrap up their six-game road trip Saturday in Syracuse against the Crunch. Catch all the action with broadcaster Brian Rogers at stjohnsicecaps.com and on 930 AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador, or watch online at ahllive.com. Puck drop is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. with the pregame show getting underway at 8:30 (all times Newfoundland).