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St. John’s suffers just second road loss in regulation with 5-2 defeat in Portland

By Don Power
Director of Communications

The St. John’s IceCaps fell into a 3-0 hole in Portland Saturday night and couldn’t find a way out, falling 5-2 to the Pirates at the Cumberland County Civic Centre.

With Eddie Pasquale getting his second straight start in net, the IceCaps fought off three consecutive penalties to keep the Pirates at bay in the early part of the contest. However, with just 18 seconds remaining in the opening frame, Patrick O’Sullivan put Portland ahead 1-0 entering the intermission.

St. John’s outshot Portland 10-5 in the first 20 minutes of action.

Matt Watkins put the home team up 2-0 when he skated in alone on Pasquale and lifted a backhand high to the glove side for his eighth goal of the year at 6:48. Less than two minutes later, Brett McLean made it 3-0 for the Pirates and they were off to the races.

St. John’s brought it back to 3-1 on a beautiful one-handed deflection by Aaron Gagnon, redirecting a Jason King shot past Portland netminder Justin Pogge at 11:29. That’s how the teams would finish after 40 minutes.

King appeared to give new life to the IceCaps early in the third period. The Corner Brook native scored his team-leading 13th goal of the season 1:37 seconds into the final frame, bringing St. John’s to within one. That would be as close as they got, though, as Alexandre Bolduc and Michael Stone each scored for Portland to seal the victory.

A total of 11 minor penalties were called, with the IceCaps successfully killing off eight power play opportunities. Another bright spot for St. John’s was the play of the King-Gagnon-Jason Jaffray line, which accounted for all the scoring and a lot of the scoring opportunities.

The IceCaps played without Patrice Cormier, who was once again recalled to Winnipeg earlier in the day. The club was bolstered by the addition of defenceman Derek Meech, however, who was assigned from the Jets, and played his first game with St. John’s, wearing jersey No. 7.

The club won’t have much time to dwell on the loss – just the second road loss in regulation time this season. St. John’s plays Worcester Sunday afternoon in a game scheduled to start 2:30 NL time – two hours earlier than originally scheduled. With the New England Patriots playing an NFL playoff game at 4:30, the Sharks asked the AHL for permission to move the game ahead two hours. That means the IceCaps will play three games in less than 48 hours this weekend.

After a 2-1 overtime victory Friday, the club looks to leave the weekend with four of a possible six points.
Catch all the action with broadcaster Brian Rogers on or on 930 AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador. The pre-game show starts at 2 p.m. Sunday, 30 minutes before the drop of the puck.

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