King clutch for IceCaps
Late goal gives St. John’s 4-3 edge over Binghamton
By Chris Doyle
The St. John’s IceCaps came back from three one-goal deficits to defeat the Binghamton Senators 4-3 Saturday night at Mile One Centre.
Jason King scored a beautiful goal off the rush with 1:20 left in regulation to lift St. John’s (31-12-5-1) to its third straight home victory, its longest home winning streak of the season.
Jason Jaffray, returning from a two-game absence with a back injury, chipped in with a goal and an assist for the home side, while Eddie Pasquale made 18 saves for his sixth consecutive victory and third this week. King, the game’s first star, talked about the lift the team received from the return of Jaffray and Aaron Gagnon (sent down from Winnipeg earlier Saturday) to the lineup.
“It’s huge. All season long we always harped on our big our depth was,” King said. “Getting Gags back tonight and getting Jaffs back tonight it definitely increases our depth to our team. They’re big keys to our team, no question.”
Another key to the club’s success is the work of the special teams. The IceCaps scored once on the power play and once while shorthanded. St. John’s is eighth overall in the league with a 20.3 per cent success rate on the power play.
“Special teams were definitely key,” head coach Keith McCambridge said. “There were momentum swings on both sides. I thought our power play did a good job, as it has during most of the season. We got traffic in front and got pucks to the net. Special teams are big in most games, and I thought they were (Saturday) night.”
The visitors got on the board first at the 13:53 mark of the first period on an odd-man rush. The Senators broke out on a three-on-two and Andre Petersson dropped a pass for Mike Hoffman, who cleanly beat Pasquale with a wrist shot to give Binghamton a 1-0 lead.
The IceCaps pulled even at 7:16 of the second period on a power play after the Senators Eric Gryba went off for high-sticking. The puck took a weird bounce behind the net and ended up on the stick of Jaffray, who made a great pass in front to Spencer Machacek. The team’s leading scorer then placed a perfect shot past Senators’ goaltender Robin Lehner, tying the game at one.
The tie was short-lived, however, as Binghamton retook the lead on a power play of their own just 1:23 later. Rob Klinkhammer took a pass at the side of the goal and slid a no-look, between-the-legs backhand pass to Stephane Da Costa at the other side of the net, who converted for his 11th of the season to put the Senators up 2-1.
The see-saw battle continued when Jaffray burst in on a shorthanded rush and beat Lehner with a wrister on the left wing. Jaffray used a streaking Carl Klingberg as a decoy to find the back of the net for his 13th goal of the season and second while down a man.
At 11:54 of the middle frame, the Senators regained the lead after Jason DeSantis coughed up the puck at the Binghamton blueline. David Dziurzynski picked up the loose puck and went in alone on Pasquale, burying his own rebound to make it 3-2 Binghamton.
In the third, St. John’s evened the score midway through the frame after some hard work down low paid off for Eric O’Dell. Travis Ramsey made a well-timed pinch to hold the puck in the zone. That led to Shawn Weller finding Klingberg open near the blueline. Klingberg blasted a shot that was stopped by Lehner, but O’Dell banged home the rebound from the front of the net for his sixth of the season to knot the game at three.
The IceCaps completed the comeback with 1:20 remaining in regulation time. Zach Redmond fed King flying down the right wing, and the Corner Brook native made no mistake on a seeing-eye wrist shot, beating Lehner on the blocker side for the deciding goal.
“I just cut to the middle,” King said of his goal. “(Redmond) made a great pass down the wall and it seemed like I had a lot more room. When I cut to the middle it sort of opened up, and I just wanted to get it off quick. A couple of our goals were scored blocker side so I tried to shoot blocker, it was lucky enough to go in.”
“When I watch (King) play, he does a lot of things right for this team,” McCambridge said. “He goes to the hard areas. He battles to retrieve pucks. He’s good in his own zone. He’s a leader on the bench. And from the top of the circles down, in the offensive zone, that goal was a direct result of a placement and where he can put the puck. That’s an NHL shot right there.”
St. John’s has now won eight of its last nine games and four-of-five on its current six-game homestand. The win, combined with a Manchester Monarchs’ loss, gives the IceCaps a 10-point lead atop the Atlantic Division and a five-point advantage over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for first place in the Eastern Conference.
The IceCaps once again host the Senators Sunday afternoon before heading on the road for seven games, beginning in Hamilton next Friday night.
Catch all the action with play-by-play broadcaster Brian Rogers at www.stjohnsicecaps.com or on 930AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador. Pregame show begins at 3:30 p.m. (all times Newfoundland)with the drop of the puck scheduled for 4:00 p.m..
St. John’s improved its home record to 14-10-3-0… The IceCaps fired a season-high 48 shots on goal, including 23 in the third period, also a season-high. St John’s has outshot its opponents in 34 of its 49 games this season, winning 23 of those contests… King’s goal in the third period was his 14th of the season, one more than Jaffray and Klingberg for the team lead… St. John’s went 1-for-4 on the power play while Binghamton went 1-for-5… The IceCaps have a 15-1-5-1 record this season in games decided by one goal… Klingberg and Senators goaltender Robin Lehner both hail from the same hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden. The two were teammates on Sweden’s 2011 World Junior team.
Game Photos (Jeff Parsons)