IceCaps thrill in 2-1 overtime victory
DeSantis scores game-winner to sweep Bruins out of St. John’s
By Chris Doyle
Jason DeSantis scored on the power play in overtime to lift the St. John’s IceCaps to a 2-1 victory over the Providence Bruins Wednesday night at Mile One Centre.
In the extra frame, the Bruins Colby Cohen was called for cross-checking just 34 seconds in, setting the stage for DeSantis’ heroics. As the penalty was winding down, King got the puck back to DeSantis, who rifled a slap shot that cleanly found the back of the net past Hutchinson, sending the capacity crowd of 6,287 into a frenzy.
“I think you just have to look for lanes,” DeSantis said of his game winner. “Luckily I got one there and found the back of the net.
“We’ve had some trouble getting back-to-back wins here. We want home ice advantage, so it’s good to get the win here.”
“That was a big goal at the end,” head coach Keith McCambridge said. “A lot of it is based on traffic in front of the net. Weller and (Carl) Klingberg do a real good job in front of the net, making those goaltenders look around and see where those shots are coming from. We talked early in the week about our power play connecting. We needed a spark to get where we need to be. I thought they responded tonight.”
Shawn Weller also scored on the power play to help guide St. John’s (30-12-5-1) to a two-game sweep of the Bruins, just their third home series sweep of the season. The IceCaps also swept series against Connecticut in November and Manchester in early January.
Eddie Pasquale was sensational once again for the IceCaps, making 36 saves for his 13th win of the season, tying David Aebischer for the team lead. The 21-year-old played a sound positional game and rarely found himself in trouble, getting plenty of help from the squad in front of him as well.
Weller opened the scoring at 5:55 of the first on the IceCaps’ first of four power plays in the game. Ben Maxwell’s shot from the top of the right circle hit a Bruins defender and was then redirected by Weller past Providence netminder Michael Hutchinson for his eighth of the season, giving St. John’s a 1-0 lead.
Neither team could muster any offence until the 8:45 mark of the third period when the Bruins’ Josh Hennessey took a pass in the slot and beat Pasquale to tie the game at one. The goal was the first allowed by Pasquale in his last 129:54, beating David Aebischer’s scoreless stretch of 96:13 set in early December.
The IceCaps weathered the storm in the third period, getting outshot 15-9 and successfully killing off three penalties – including the team’s second too many men on the ice penalty – to keep the score tied.
“You could see fatigue set in on our side, with some mental mistakes in the second period,” said head coach Keith McCambridge after the contest. “We didn’t get pucks deep. We didn’t come through the neutral zone with speed, and we were standing still. That to me is a sign of fatigue.
“But we dug down and got the two points that we needed in overtime. Our goaltender was really good. We’ll take the four points out of this series.”
The back-to-back wins for the IceCaps move them into first overall in the AHL, one point up on the Oklahoma City Barons. St. John’s also extended its lead to 10 points in the Atlantic Division over second place Manchester. The team leads the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins by three points atop the Eastern Conference.
Next up for St. John’s is a two-game set versus the Binghamton Senators Saturday and Sunday, as they close out their six-game homestand. The IceCaps are 3-1-0-0 so far, improving their home record to 13-10-3-0 on the season.
Catch all the action with play-by-play broadcaster Brian Rogers at www.stjohnsicecaps.com and on 930AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador. Pregame show begins a half hour before puck drop.
St. John’s was outshot (37-30) for just the 13th time all season and now hold an 8-4-1-0 record in that scenario….Derek Meech, Jason Jaffray, John Albert, Marco Rosa, Patrice Cormier and Jason Gregoire all missed Wednesday’s game with injuries. John Negrin was a healthy scratch after making his IceCaps debut a night earlier….St. John’s went 2-for-4 with the man advantage and a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill ….The IceCaps improved their overtime record to 2-5 with the win….Spencer Machacek returned to the lineup after a brief stint with the Winnipeg Jets recording four shots and four minutes in penalties….Wednesday was the 26th consecutive sellout for the IceCaps.