IceCaps reign supreme in Manchester
St. John’s remains unbeaten in regulation on the road
The St. John’s IceCaps ended two streaks Friday night in New Hampshire with a 4-2 win over the Manchester Monarchs. The IceCaps’ victory not only ended a three-game losing streak but also snapped a three-game Manchester winning streak.
Patrice Cormier led the visitors with a pair of goals, including the game winner. The New Brunswick native opened the scoring at 5:39 of the first period when he capitalized on a strange bounce for the club’s first goal. Jason Gregoire – in his first game back since missing 16 games due to an injury – and Eric O’Dell recorded the assists.
Manchester pulled even on Marc-Andre Cliché’s ninth goal of the season at 10:53 of the first and later went ahead at the 4:37 mark of the second, when Stefane Legaine scored his third of the season.
However, three unanswered goals from St. John’s did the trick in turning this game into a victory. Kenndal McArdle scored at 6:54 of the second period to tie the game, leaving the heroics for the evening to Cormier. Defenceman Paul Postma’s wrist shot from the blueline was deflected by Cormier to put St. John’s on top for good. Ben Maxwell sealed the victory with his 1st goal of the season into the empty net.
David Aebischer continued to return to form, winning his sixth game of the season after getting the start in Manchester. The Swiss netminder has won each of his last four starts.
After a brilliant month of November during which the IceCaps went 7-2-1-0, the team had sputtered to a 3-3-0-0 start in December, prior to the Friday night win. The club’s road successes continue,d as the team improved to a 9-0-2-0 mark away from Mile One. With the win, St. John’s moved into a tie with Manchester for first place in the Atlantic Division with 36 points, although St. John’s has three games in hand.
The IceCaps got the win despite playing with a depleted lineup. St. John’s has been affected by a roster that has been in flux in recent weeks, with a number of players succumbing to injury or being recalled to the parent club in Winnipeg. Riley Holzapfel, Shawn Weller, John Albert, Jason Gregoire and Jason King have all missed time with various ailments. As well, Carl Klingberg was recalled by Winnipeg in late November, creating a number of holes up front.
King and Gregoire returned for St. John’s, but the bigger news was that Swedish sensation Klingberg was reassigned to the St. John’s IceCaps late Friday afternoon. Klingberg played six games with Winnipeg before getting reassigned.
The IceCaps travel to Portland to face the Pirates Saturday night before wrapping up their three-game road trip with a second date against the Pirates Sunday afternoon.