Penguins extend series to Game 6
Photo courtesy AFC Media
Simon Despres scores in double OT to give hometown Pens 3-2 win
By Don Power
Director of Communications
WILKES-BARRE, PA. – Defenceman Simon Despres scored at 12:08 of double overtime to keep the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ Calder Cup hopes alive. The overtime goal gave the Pens a 3-2 win in Game 5 of the series, sending both teams back to St. John’s for Games 6 Friday night at Mile One.
Despres pounced on a puck in front of IceCaps goalie Eddie Pasquale – who was outstanding for the club once again. Pasquale felt he got a pad on the first shot, but Despres moved through the crease and slid the game-winner home, to the delight of the 3,506 fans in attendance.
“I don’t think we came with our best effort tonight, but we had ourselves in the whole game, right to the end,” said Jason King, who opened scoring on a funky play. “We know how we play at home. We’re excited to get back home to our fans.
“But to come here, and take two out of three, we can’t be disappointed. Squals (Pasquale) kept us in it again, as he’s done all playoffs. We had a chance to win that game. We’re going home now and happy to be back on home ice.”
“In the third (period) and overtime, I thought the teams were exchanging blows back and forth,” head coach Keith McCambridge said following the exhausting contest. “Give credit to both teams. Wilkes-Barre was really good tonight. We knew they were going to be a desperate team with their season up against the ropes.
“Overall we did some really good things and gave ourselves a chance to win the game. At the end of the day, they did the same, and they finished it.”
The Penguins had to fight long and hard for this victory, and outshot the IceCaps 45-29 over the four-and-a-half periods. Facing elimination, the Penguins couldn’t have enjoyed the way the game began.
King got things started for the IceCaps on a weird goal. With the play in St. John’s zone, King picked up a loose puck along the boards by the hash marks inside the faceoff circle and dumped it gently out of the zone. The puck slid to Pens goalie Brad Thiessen who put his stick down to play it, but whiffed on it and the puck slide between his skates and into the net at 5:21.
St. John’s appeared to have taken a 2-0 lead at 12:31 when Maxime Macenauer skated down the left wing and crashed the net. His first shot was stopped and the rebound ended up behind Thiessen. Officials signaled the puck was in the net, but a conference shortly after determined that the puck was kicked in by Macenauer, and the goal was waved off.
“In my opinion that was a poor call,” McCambridge said. “The linesman called it. They were both at the blueline but the referee was in perfect position. He called it a goal. The linesman called it off.”
“I think that was a good goal,” Macenauer said when asked. “I made a kicking motion, but I touched the puck at the last second. I’m 100 per cent sure.”
Pasquale continued his solid play in the opening 20 minutes, making several big saves – including a glove save early – although he only faced four shots officially.
The second period was all Wilkes-Barre, as the Penguins outshot St. John’s 14-3 and outscored them 1-0. The IceCaps didn’t register a shot until approximately 6:50 remained in the period. The Penguins finally got on the board at 8:12 of the middle frame when Paul Thompson gobbled up a turnover by the IceCaps and scored on Pasquale’s stick side to knot the score.
Entering the third period, Wilkes-Barre kept up the pressure, outshooting St. John’s 12-8. Defenceman Alex Grant capitalized on one of those shots just 2:18 into the period, as he waltzed into the high slot and wired a wrist shot past Pasquale.
Paul Postma got the IceCaps back even less than two minutes later. With the IceCaps on a power play, the club’s regular season MVP and top defenceman wired a shot past Thiessen to tie the game at two. A flurry of activity for the remaining minutes solved nothing, so it was back to overtime for these two teams, marking the third straight game the clubs had to resort to extra time to determine a winner.
Unlike the two previous overtime games, this one didn’t end quickly, going to the 12:08 mark of the second overtime. Despres’ marker, his first of the post-season, means St. John’s fans can help the IceCaps close out this semifinal on Friday night.
“We won two of three in their building,” McCambridge said, “now we have to win one of two in our building.”
“We want to win,” Pasquale said of Game 6. “We have to close it out. You don’t want to go to a Game 7. Anything can happen in a Game 7.”
Catch all the action Friday night on 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 watch the game live on Rogers TV and online at www.ahllive.com.
D Arturs Kulda was a scratch from the lineup, after leaving Game 4 in the third period. D Jason DeSantis was re-inserted into the lineup for the IceCaps… Rose St. Croix of St. Vincent’s, St. Mary’s Bay and her husband Bob Thibeau drove from Kingston, ON to watch the game. They were sporting the provincial flag proudly. Geoff and Charlene (Devereaux) Ryan of Logy Bay were also at the Mohegan Sun Arena. The couple was driving home from Florida, saw the game on the schedule, and swung by Wilkes-Barre… Tuesday’s attendance was 3,506. The 50/50 prize was $417.