Syracuse drops St. John’s 6-3
IceCaps on losing end of chippy, back-and-forth affair
The St. John’s IceCaps fell victim to the Syracuse Crunch 6-3 Saturday night in a wild game at Onondaga War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, NY.
Both teams traded blows with goals and fists in a game that saw the teams combine for nine goals and 90 minutes in penalties with three lead changes.
Alex Killorn had two goals and an assist, including the game-winner early in the third period, while Richard Panik had a goal and two assists. Mark Barberio and Tyler Johnson each had a pair of helpers for Syracuse.
Eddie Pasquale and Dustin Tokarski started in goal for their respective teams but were assessed game misconducts after leaving their creases to fight one another during a second period scrum. Mark Dekanich and Riku Helenius took over, respectively, with Helenius coming away victorious by virtue of his perfect 15-save performance. Dekanich, who was making his return to the lineup after missing seven games with a hamstring injury, made 22 saves in just over 32 minutes of work.
Despite an early barrage of shots by St. John’s in the first, it was Syracuse that opened the scoring on the power play. Killorn played give-and-go with Panik and took the return pass in front of the IceCaps net, beating Pasquale with a wrist shot to put the home side up 1-0 at 14:50.
Less than three minutes later, on an IceCaps power play, Syracuse increased its lead to 2-0. J.T. Wyman picked up the puck in the IceCaps zone and skated all the way down the right side on a two-on-one with Mike Angelidis. Wyman’s attempted pass was denied by Derek Meech, but Wyman picked up the loose puck before spinning and firing a hard wrist shot that eluded Pasquale to give the Crunch a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
The IceCaps came out on fire in the second period, scoring twice in the first 2:35 to tie the game. First, Mouiliierat fed Arsene at the left point, whose seeing-eye shot found the back of the net past Tokarski to make it 2-1. Then, less than a minute later, Eric O’Dell got the puck back to Julian Melchiori, who fired a shot on goal that was stopped by Tokarski. However, the rebound laid waiting for Mouillierat, who deposited his fourth to bring the IceCaps even.
The visitors kept the momentum going at the 4:46 mark when Cormier converted a power play tally. The New Brunswick native potted his third goal of the season after a mad scramble in front to give St. John’s a temporary 3-2 lead.
Things got ugly at 5:26 of the second when the teams engaged in a near line brawl. After some rough stuff in the corner involving Jason Jaffray and Radko Gudas, multiple players got involved in the action, including both goaltenders. Pasquale and Tokarski left their creases and met at centre ice to fight, resulting in game misconducts for each netminder.
After the ruckus died down, the Crunch were awarded a power play and capitalized to knot the score once again. Panik got the puck back to Evan Oberg at the point, whose shot was redirected in front by Kyle Wilson, making it 3-3.
In the third, the IceCaps got into some more penalty trouble and paid the price. On a Syracuse five-on-three, Johnson took a pass at the side of the net from Barberio and delivered a cross-ice feed to Killorn near the far post. Killorn one-timed home his second of the game to give Syracuse a 4-3 advantage with 16:20 left to play.
J.P. Cote added an insurance marker with 4:02 left in regulation time. Melchiori and Dekanich appeared to collide in the crease and the puck came out to Cote, who was stationed near the side boards. Cote fired the puck on net and beat a sprawled Dekanich to make it 5-3.
Panik added an empty-netter with 16 seconds remaining to cap the scoring.
The IceCaps finished their six game road trip with a 3-2-0-1 record and enter the all-star break 13th in the Eastern Conference with 41 points, just four points back of the Worcester Sharks for the eighth and final playoff spot.
St. John’s returns home next weekend to face the Binghamton Senators for the start of a six-game home stand that also sees the club host the Sharks and Connecticut Whale. Catch all the action with broadcaster Brian Rogers at stjohnsicecaps.com and on 930 AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador, or watch online at ahllive.com.