Marlies surge past IceCaps
Club drops second straight against Toronto in 6-3 loss
By Chris Doyle
The Toronto Marlies scored three times in the middle frame en route to a 6-3 win over the St. John’s IceCaps Saturday night at Mile One Centre.
Ryan Hamilton, Marcel Mueller and Tyler Brenner each scored in the second period for Toronto while Jussi Rynnas made 25 saves to pick up the win. IceCaps netminder Eddie Pasquale dropped his second straight decision and has allowed six goals in each of the two losses.
“I thought we came out in the first really quickly,” head coach Keith McCambridge said following the contest. “We had some good chances. We get on the board early and Kevin Clark hits the post. If he scores, it’s a different game. I thought we had good energy and good legs.”
The first half of the game was a see-saw affair between the two teams. St. John’s opened up a 1-0 lead 3:47 into the game when Marco Rosa banged home a rebound on the power play for his fifth of the season. The Marlies’ Nazem Kadri, who scored twice in Friday night’s contest and was the best player on the ice all weekend, converted on a power play to tie the game at one at 9:36 of the first. Kadri was able to knock a rebound past Pasquale, who failed to cover up after the initial chance by Mike Zigomanis.
St. John’s would retake the lead at the 10:24 mark of the first when Spencer Machacek beat Rynnas high on the glove side while streaking in from the right wing. The lead wouldn’t last long, however, as Toronto’s Greg Scott buried a well-placed shot past Pasquale on a two-on-one to tie the game at 14:17 of the first, and the teams went to the dressing room knotted at two.
The second period hasn’t been kind to the IceCaps, as lapses in play have cost the team goals, and in Saturday night’s case, the game.
The second period looked promising for the IceCaps, when Spencer Machacek scored his second of the night and fifth of the season, to give St. John’s another lead. Machacek’s tally came on a rebound from Travis Ramsey’s point shot at the 4:45 mark. Much to the dismay of the IceCaps faithful, Ryan Hamilton evened the score just three minutes later on a tricky backhander that found the twine. Toronto carried the momentum into the late stages of the period when Mueller and Brenner scored 1:20 apart to give the Marlies a two-goal lead heading into the third period.
The two-goal deficit proved to be too much for St. John’s to overcome in the third. Jerry D’Amigo padded the Marlies’ lead 5:44 into the final period when he scored on a scramble in front of the IceCaps’ net. Things would get chippy late in the period when Kadri took down Shawn Weller with a low hit, but cooler heads prevailed. The capacity crowd, the 12th straight to open the season at Mile One Centre, did not hold back in expressing its discontent with the pesky winger.
The IceCaps had trouble containing several of the Marlies skilled forwards all weekend long. In particular, Kadri and Mueller were all over the ice and had plenty of quality scoring chances. The opportunistic duo combined for nine points in the two games.
“They capitalized on their chances, and we didn’t have the opportunity to capitalize on ours,” McCambridge said. “It would be nice to get the results, but I thought we generated a lot of scoring chances. We contained well and limited some of their opportunities. They’re a good team with speed. We are too, but they got the points tonight.”
St. John’s has now lost two straight games at home and three of four overall after beginning the six-game homestand with back-to-back wins over the Connecticut Whale. The IceCaps’ home record falls to 6-4-2-0 on the season and 12-4-4-0 overall, still good for first place in the Eastern Conference.
“We’ve got to regroup, work hard the next week in practice, and hopefully get a little redemption next week when we face them,” Machacek said. “They came in here and worked hard. We knew they were a top team and every team is going to come in here with their ‘A’ game. We have to come with our ‘A’ game every shift.”
The IceCaps will look to find solace on the road and continue their success next weekend when they travel to Hamilton and Toronto for games on Friday and Sunday, respectively. St. John’s remains unbeaten on the road in regulation (6-0-2-0) and has won four straight overall away from home.
Catch all the action on 930 AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador and online at www.stjohnsicecaps.com with play-by-play broadcaster Brian Rogers. Pregame show begins 30 minutes before the drop of the puck.