IceCaps snap home losing streak with gutsy effort
St. John’s downs Toronto 4-2 in feisty affair
ST. JOHN’S, NL – The St. John’s IceCaps ended a seven-game home losing streak with a big 4-2 win over the North Division leading Toronto Marlies Sunday afternoon at Mile One Centre.
Kevin Clark scored the game-winner at 10:26 of the third period and added an empty-netter to seal the victory. Jason Jaffray, the game’s first star, and Eric O’Dell both notched a goal and an assist, while Ray Sawada picked up a pair of helpers. Eddie Pasquale stopped 21-of-23 shots for his ninth win of the season.
The IceCaps’ penalty killing unit was sharp Sunday afternoon, killing off five-of-seven Marlies power plays after allowing three goals on five chances Saturday night. St. John’s also went 1-for-4 on the power play to end a three-game drought with the man advantage.
Early in the game, however, the Marlies continued their power play success with an early first period marker. On a five-on-three following minor penalties to Ryan Schnell and Cody Sol, Joe Colborne, who had three points in Saturday’s game, fed Paul Ranger near the right faceoff circle. Ranger snapped a wrister that cleanly beat Pasquale low on the blocker side to give Toronto a 1-0 lead just 2:35 after the opening faceoff.
St. John’s pulled even on a power play of its own later in the first period when O’Dell notched his third goal of the two-game series. Jaffray attempted to hammer a rebound into an empty net and was stopped, but O’Dell was right there to poke the puck home amidst a mad scramble in front of Rynnas, making it a 1-1 game.
The IceCaps took the lead midway through the second frame on a goal by Jaffray after a nice setup by Sawada. Sawada outmuscled a Marlies defender down low and from his knees sent a pass out front to Jaffray near the left faceoff circle, and the IceCaps’ captain one-timed home his sixth of the season to give the home side a 2-1 advantage.
Toronto tied the score with 2:58 to go in the middle frame on a penalty shot goal by Ryan Hamilton. The IceCaps were whistled for delay of game when Richard Petiot closed his hand over the puck in the crease during a clearing attempt. Ryan Hamilton answered the call and made a beautiful backhand-to-forehand move, sliding the puck past Pasquale’s outstretched pad to tie the game at two.
In the third, St. John’s pulled ahead on Clark’s third of the season. O’Dell attempted a shot from the slot that was blocked, and the puck bounced to Clark near the left faceoff dot. Clark continued towards the net and made a nifty move to the forehand, sliding the puck underneath a fooled Rynnas, giving the IceCaps a 3-2 lead.
With Rynnas on the bench for the extra attacker, Clark capped off the scoring with his second of the game, racing down the ice and beating a Marlies defender to collect a loose puck and backhand it into the yawning cage.
The IceCaps now pack up and head out on the road for a six-game, 12-day trip that begins next Friday and Saturday in Norfolk against the Admirals.
Catch all the action with broadcaster Brian Rogers at stjohnsicecaps.com and on 930AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador, or watch online at ahllive.com.
F Jason Jaffray’s two points vaulted him into sole possession of the team scoring lead with 20 points (6G, 14A) in 27 games… F Eric O’Dell has scored in back-to-back games and has five points (3G, 2A) during his three-game point streak… D Richard Petiot made his IceCaps debut and picked up an assist on F Kevin Clark’s game-winning goal in the third period. Both Petiot and Clark were a team-best +2 in the victory… The IceCaps improved their home record to 7-11-1-1… The IceCaps have now sold out 58 consecutive home games at Mile One Centre.
Photos (Michael Pardy)