Sharks overmatch IceCaps in spirited affair
Come back from two-goal deficit for second straight game, win 5-3
By Chris Doyle
The third period was once kind to the IceCaps, but not anymore.
The Worcester Sharks overcame a two-goal deficit for the second straight game, scoring four times in the third period to come away with a 5-3 victory over the St. John’s IceCaps Sunday afternoon at Mile One Centre. The win secured a two-game sweep for Worcester and sent St. John’s to its third straight loss, its longest losing streak of the season.
Peter Mannino, getting his second consecutive start for the IceCaps, played a solid game from beginning to end but received little reward for his effort. The IceCaps goalie stopped 35 shots and made several spectacular saves on the afternoon, but it wasn’t enough to avoid losing his third straight start overall.
The game featured a handful of fights, including three in less than a minute of action in the second period. The squads seemed eager to settle the score from Friday, which saw them combine for 40 minutes in penalties.
The first period provided little in the way of offence until the dying seconds. The Sharks took the lead as time expired when forward John McCarthy one-timed a shot past Mannino, just after IceCaps defenceman Zach Redmond stepped out of the penalty box. Redmond was serving a two-minute minor for a retaliatory slash after being slammed into the boards in the offensive zone.
The late goal did not seem to faze the IceCaps, however, as they came out strong in the second. Spencer Machacek buried a rebound after a scramble in front of the Sharks net for his eighth of the season at the 4:15 mark of the second to tie the game at one. Just minutes later, Paul Postma blasted a shot from the top of the circle after a great feed by Ben Maxwell to give St. John’s a 2-1 lead. Maxwell recorded a pair of assists for the second straight game and again was a thorn in the side of the Sharks all afternoon.
The IceCaps scored with 2:03 remaining in the second period. Aaron Gagnon converted a seeing-eye pass from Kevin Clark for his sixth of the season, a power play marker to give the IceCaps a two-goal advantage heading to the dressing room. Clark came streaking down the wing with speed and delivered a tape-to-tape pass to Gagnon, who had an easy tap in for his sixth of the season and team-leading fifth with the man advantage.
As was the case Friday, though, the third period proved to be the IceCaps undoing. After closing out the second period up two men, the Sharks opened the third with a 5-on-3 power play and capitalized to make it 3-2 just 37 seconds into the frame. Ben Guite got his second of the season on a cross-crease pass from McCarthy to beat Mannino, who had no chance going from post-to-post but nearly came up with the save.
The Sharks then tied the game at the 3:51 mark on a strange goal. Tommy Wingels missed the net on a clear-cut breakaway, but the puck bounced off the glass behind the goal and caromed off the top of the net before hitting Mannino’s arm and crossing the goal line. The goal seemed to deflate the IceCaps and the capacity crowd at Mile One Centre – the 16th straight sellout for the club to start its inaugural season.
Wingels capped off an impressive weekend with his second of the game with just 2:25 left in regulation to give the Sharks a lead they would not relinquish. IceCaps forward Marco Rosa, in an attempt to lead a rush up-ice, made an errant pass at the St. John’s blueline, resulting in an untimely turnover that led to the goal. Tony Lucia picked off the pass and slid the puck to Wingels, who out-waited a sprawling Mannino and tucked a shot underneath the crossbar. Many fans thought the shot hit the crossbar, but referee Terry Koharski adamantly signalled goal.
Marek Viedensky added an empty netter to seal the win for Worcester.
The IceCaps now embark on a three-game road trip next weekend, with stops in Manchester and Portland for two, before packing up and heading home for the holidays. The next action at Mile One Centre is January 6 and 7 when St. John’s welcomes the Manchester Monarchs for a two-game series.
Catch all the action with play-by-play broadcaster Brian Rogers at www.stjohnsicecaps.com and on the radio at 930 AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador. Pregame show begins a half hour before puck drop.
Game Photos (Jeff Parsons)