Maxwell puts IceCaps up 3-1 with OT winner
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Photo courtesy AFC Media
Club erases 2-0 deficit to win 3-2
By Don Power
Director of Communications
WILKES-BARRE, PA. – Ben Maxwell scored just 27 seconds into overtime to give the St. John’s IceCaps a come-from-behind 3-2 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Sunday afternoon at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
Maxwell jumped on a loose puck in front when Brett Festerling’s shot didn’t reach the net. Jason King took a swipe at it, before Maxwell deposited his third of the playoffs to clear the IceCaps bench in celebration.
“Festerling had a good low shot,” Maxwell said. “It just happened to hit a couple of skates and landed on my tape. I guess by that time the goalie was sliding out of his net and gave me some room.”
The goal was the third straight for the IceCaps, who fell behind 2-0 by 6:49 of the opening period.
However, the IceCaps rolled four lines effectively and erased the deficit with a solid effort for the remaining 54 minutes. Head coach Keith McCambridge said the character in the dressing room that has been evident all season showed itself in this contest.
“Those guys know they have a good team and they know they have the firepower to get themselves out of that,” McCambridge said of the 2-0 deficit. “They have the character and the will to push through that kind of deficit.
“Two-nothing early, we talked about between periods. It’s not a 10-minute game. It’s not a one-period game. It’s a three-period game. We have to make sure we chip away. I thought the guys did a good job getting momentum back on our side.”
Things didn’t start out real well for the IceCaps, as the Pens scored on their first two shots of the game.
Colin McDonald opened the scoring when he skated through the slot and fired a high shot past the glove of Eddie Pasquale at 4:30. Then at 6:49, the Penguins got lucky, when Geoff Walker made a nice pass from the corner out front to Eric Tangradi. The big winger deposited the puck into the net, leaving Pasquale with no chance to stop that one.
The game carried the same quick pace as Saturday night’s game, and as the contest wore on, St. John’s seemed to carry more of the play, getting contributions from all four lines and six defencemen, not to mention goaltender Eddie Pasquale. The Toronto native faced just 16 shots but was strong when it counted.
The second period was all IceCaps, as the team outshot Wilkes-Barre 11-6 in the middle frame.
Derek Meech got St. John’s on the board at 4:24 with a power play goal. The veteran rearguard waited patiently at the blueline before shooting a high wrist shot that eluded Thiessen, pulling St. John’s to within one goal. The goal was Meech’s fourth of the playoffs and has him tops among defencemen in playoff scoring.
St. John’s tied the game on a great play by a couple of IceCaps. Spencer Machacek controlled the puck behind the Penguins net, looking for an open teammate. He found it in defenceman Paul Postma. The AHL all-star rearguard then carried the puck through the zone to the right side before feeding a beautiful cross-ice pass to Maxime Macenauer, who buried it for the tying goal.
The goal was Macenauer’s first as an IceCap, and tied the score at two with just 3:25 remaining in the period.
The third period was as frantic as any so far in this series, as both sides skated a great transition game. It didn’t result in a lot of scoring chances however, as the shots in the third period were just 5-4.
In overtime, it was all IceCaps, outshooting the Pens 4-0 and getting the game-winner off a faceoff in the offensive zone.
The teams return to action here Tuesday night, with the IceCaps one game away from clinching the series. Either way, the club gets to play again at Mile One Centre.
“Obviously we’ve got one more to go here, and as always, it’s the hardest one to get,” Maxwell said. “The fourth win is the hardest and we’re gonna try to do it here.”
“Wilkes-Barre is a very good team,” McCambridge added. “And they’ve played some strong games. We need one win, so we just take every game in this series one game at a time, one period at a time. We have to make sure we’re ready to go for Tuesday night’s game.”
Game 5 goes Tuesday night at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre. Catch all the action with play-by-play broadcaster Brian Rogers at www.stjohnsicecaps.com and on the radio at 930AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador and TSN 1290 in Winnipeg. Fans can also view the game streaming live at www.ahllive.com. Pregame show begins at 8:00 p.m. with the drop of the puck set for 8:30 (all times Newfoundland).
The IceCaps improved their road record to 3-1 this postseason….Brock Trotter had his seven-game point streak snapped in the win….St. John’s went 1-for-2 with the man advantage while killing off both Penguins’ power play attempts….Defenceman Arturs Kulda left the game in the third period with an undisclosed injury and did not return….Eddie Pasquale’s 16 shots faced are the fewest he has faced this postseason. His previous low was 20, which came in Game 1 of this series….Sunday’s attendance at Mohegan Sun Arena was 3,499….NHL legend Gordie Howe was in attendance Sunday evening with his son Mark, the current Director of Pro Scouting for the Detroit Red Wings.