IceCaps thrill in comeback victory
ST. JOHN’S, NL – It looked grim for two periods, but the IceCaps made up for it in the third, scoring three goals to erase a 3-1 deficit and win 4-3 over the Hamilton Bulldogs Saturday at Mile One Centre.
Eric O’Dell scored two goals in the final frame, including the tying marker with 2:07 to go, and Josh Lunden completed the comeback with 26 seconds left. O’Dell finished the game with three points while Mark Dekanich picked up his second straight win with a 16-save performance. Ray Sawada scored the other St. John’s tally and Kael Mouillierat chipped in with a pair of assists.
In a reversal of fortunes from the previous night, the Bulldogs got off to the fast start with a pair of goals in the game’s first eight minutes. First, Patrick Holland made good on a great feed from Nathan Beaulieu in front of the net to beat Dekanich for a 1-0 Bulldogs lead.
Minutes later, Hamilton made it a 2-0 lead on a goal by Philippe Lefebvre. Tyler Murovich’s shot from the slot went off the left post and kicked out right to Lefebvre, who buried the rebound to give the visitors a two-goal advantage.
The IceCaps cut into the lead at 15:47 of the frame on Sawada’s 11th. After a turnover by the Bulldogs, Aaron Gagnon fired a shot on goal that was deflected nicely by Sawada and underneath the pads of Tokarski, making it a 2-1 game.
Hamilton restored its two-goal lead before the end of the period after a bad giveaway deep in the IceCaps’ zone. Murovich pounced on the errant pass in the slot and hammered home the Bulldogs’ third goal of the period to lead 3-1 after 20 minutes of play.
After a scoreless second period, O’Dell notched his 20th goal of the season on a nice wrister from the right side to narrow the gap to 3-2 less than four minutes into the third frame.
That set the stage for the late-game heroics by O’Dell and Lunden. With 2:07 to go after some sustained pressure by St. John’s, O’Dell redirected Mouillierat’s shot near the left point past Tokarski to knot the score at three.
With just 26 seconds left in regulation time, Lunden’s goal after some hard work in the offensive zone gave the IceCaps the last laugh. Lunden circled around the next and shoveled a backhander on goal that somehow managed to cross the line to lift St. John’s to victory.
St. John’s now heads on the road for five games beginning next Friday and Saturday in Portland against the Pirates followed by a Sunday afternoon tilt against the Manchester Monarchs. Listen live with broadcaster Brian Rogers at stjohnsicecaps.com and on 930 AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador, or watch online at ahllive.com.
Aaron Gagnon extended his point streak to seven games with an assist on Ray Sawada’s first period goal… Eric O’Dell took over the team scoring lead (38 points) with his three point effort… St. John’s went 0-for-3 on the power play while Hamilton went 0-for-2… Patrick Cullity picked up his first point as an IceCap with an assist on the IceCaps’ second goal… St. John’s wore green St. Patrick’s Day jersey… The IceCaps sold out their 70th consecutive game at Mile One Centre.
Photos (Jeff Parsons)