IceCaps sink Pirates
With Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff on hand at Mile One Centre, the IceCaps put on a show and defeated the Portland Pirates 5-1 in front of a fifth straight capacity crowd.
The IceCaps received plenty of opportunities to snap their home power play drought, and finally did so in the second period of Tuesday night’s victory. Riley Holzapfel banged a rebound past Pirates goalie Curtis McElhinney at 6:33 of the second to end an 0-for-24 skid with the man advantage. Until that point, the IceCaps had gone 0-for6 on the night and appeared destined to keep the streak intact.
Holzapfel’s marker might have been just enough to lift the curse. Just six minutes later, Jason King netted his third of the season to give the IceCaps their second power play marker and third goal of the period. Brett Festerling and Travis Ramsey added third period goals for the home side.
Goaltender Edward Pasquale, making his first start of the season, looked sharp in making 29 saves. Pasquale, a draft pick of the former Atlanta Thrashers, had been a healthy scratch in all but one game this season but showed poise and athleticism all game long in picking up his first win.
The IceCaps once again fired plenty of pucks at the opposing net. McElhinney saw 41 shots, including 18 in the second period, as St. John’s outshot Portland 41-29 overall. The IceCaps have now outshot their opponents in all seven games this season.
Portland opened the scoring in the first period on a power play of its own when Kyle Chipchura snapped home a shot from the side of the net, but that was all the Pirates could muster on this night. St. John’s didn’t respond until John Albert’s first of the season at 3:57 of the second period, but cruised after that.
The game featured a slew of penalties, with St. John’s finishing 2-for-11 with the man advantage while Portland converted on just 1-of-7 chances. Eight minor penalties were called in the first period alone.
With the win, the IceCaps move to 5-1-1-0 on the season and into sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Division.
St. John’s wraps up its six-game homestand tomorrow night against the Pirates before heading off on a six-game road trip. Brian Rogers has the call on 930AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador and online at www.stjohnsicecaps.com. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. with the pre-game show beginning at 7:00.