IceCaps victorious in Hamilton
Aebischer helps extend road unbeaten streak to 14 with 39-save effort
By Chris Doyle
Much like the last time these two teams met, it was the David Aebischer show Wednesday night at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton.
Aebischer made 39 saves, many of the highlight-reel variety, to lead the St. John’s IceCaps to a 3-1 victory over the Hamilton Bulldogs and extend the team’s road unbeaten streak to 14 games.
Jason Jaffray, Kevin Clark, and Eric O’Dell scored third period goals within a 2:12 span in the to break the scoreless tie and pave the way to victory. Zach Redmond recorded a pair of assists while Paul Postma extended his team-high point streak to nine games with an assist on Jaffray’s goal.
The IceCaps looked a little rusty early in the game, turning the puck over several times in the first period, but Aebischer was there to hold the fort. Hamilton outshot St. John’s 10-5 after 20 minutes but the game remained scoreless heading into the second period.
The second frame was much of the same, with the Bulldogs putting up 15 shots to the IceCaps 11. Aebischer continued to stand tall in the net, making several spectacular saves to keep the Bulldogs off the board and send the game to the final frame without a score.
Twenty seconds into the third, Jaffray got the visitors on the board, notching his first goal since being reassigned to the IceCaps. Jaffray blasted a shot top shelf on Bulldogs goalie Nathan Lawson for his eighth of the season, giving St. John’s a 1-0 lead.
Just 1:14 later, Kevin Clark put on a dazzling display of skill when he rounded the Bulldogs goal and danced out in front on a solo effort, roofing a shot past Lawson for his sixth of the season to give the IceCaps a 2-0 lead.
The offensive outburst did not end there, however. Less than a minute later, Eric O’Dell capitalized on a chance in front of the net off a Zach Redmond drive to convert his fourth of the season, padding the lead to 3-0 and quieting the 4,621 in attendance at Copps Coliseum.
Andreas Engqvist would break Aebischer’s shutout at 11:56 of the third, but that was all the offence the Bulldogs could muster on this night. Aebischer has found his groove between the pipes, having won five of his last six starts and allowing just 11 goals during that span. In his last two starts against the Bulldogs (both in Hamilton), Aebischer has stopped 60-of-61 shots combined.
The win by the IceCaps brings their road record to 11-0-2-1, the only AHL team without a regulation loss away from home. The IceCaps also improve to 3-1 versus the Bulldogs this season, outscoring the Montreal Canadiens’ affiliate 13-7 in the process.
St. John’s continues its three-game road swing through Southern Ontario with a pair of games this weekend in Toronto versus the Marlies. The teams will meet on New Year’s Eve for a matinee affair, followed by another afternoon contest on Sunday, New Year’s Day. The Marlies lead the season series two games to one, but dropped a 4-2 decision to the IceCaps on Dec. 4 in Toronto.
Catch all the action with broadcaster Brian Rogers at www.stjohnsicecaps.com and on 930 AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador. Both games are scheduled for a 4:30 p.m. start, with the pregame shows set to begin at 4:00 (all times Newfoundland).