Trotter gets OT winner as IceCaps take Game 3
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Photo courtesy AFC Media
By Don Power
Director of Communications
WILKES-BARRE, PA – Brock Trotter’s second goal of the game in overtime gave the St. John’s IceCaps a 2-1 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in AHL playoff action Saturday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
Trotter skated through the offensive zone and moved in on Penguins goalie Brad Thiessen before making a nice deke to slide the puck into the net at 10:02 of the extra session, emptying the IceCaps bench.
The win gives St. John’s a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal series. Game 4 goes here Sunday afternoon.
“I tried to centre the puck but it hit a skate and came back to me,” Trotter said of his game-winner. “I came across for support and I could see Klinger cutting towards the net, and backing off their D. I wanted to make a play and it worked out.”
“Brock Trotter’s an offensive guy and you give him the puck in those areas and he makes very good plays,” said head coach Keith McCambridge. “But I thought everybody – all four lines, our D, obviously our goaltending – played well, but it was a very key goal from a very key player.
“(IceCaps general manager) Craig Heisinger, the research he did on Brock Trotter, to take the chance that he took, to see if he was going to be 100 per cent for playoffs, is paying off now.”
An enthusiastic crowd of 4,272 was noisy all night as the teams battled through a defensive slugfest. Wilkes-Barre outshot St. John’s 29-18, including 11-0 in the second period when the IceCaps were not credited with one shot.
“Wilkes-Barre is a good team and they defend really well,” McCambridge said. “It’s hard to generate offensive scoring chances. They block shots well.
“I thought any time you let a lead slip with a minute left in the game, you’re concerned about it. We had time to get ourselves refocused. I thought the players did a real good job and getting refocused. I thought we transitioned pucks pretty quickly, good puck possession out of our own zone.”
“He definitely saw me on the side there,” Trotter said of his teammate. “He definitely wasn’t shooting it. He actually made a really nice play to me and I just tried to get a stick on it.”
Eddie Pasquale, who wasn’t tested as often as he has been in the playoffs but was solid when he had to be, made a big save off Brandon DeFazio with the game scoreless. DeFazio was left alone in front of the net and backhanded a shot high, but Pasquale nabbed it with his glove hand.
Pasquale was also the story of the second period. The Toronto native stopped 11 shots while helping his teammates kill off three overlapping penalties, giving Wilkes-Barre a pair of 5-on-3 man advantages.
The third period was a close battle for 20 minutes, as the shots dropped to just 3-2 for Wilkes-Barre. With time winding down and Thiessen on the bench, Eric Tangradi finished off a scramble around the IceCaps crease. The big winger poked a loose puck past Pasquale with just 1:02 remaining to tie the score at 1-1.
The IceCaps continued to pressure Wilkes-Barre after the ensuing faceoff, however. The line of Jason King-Aaron Gagnon-Ben Maxwell kept the puck in the Penguins zone but couldn’t finish it off. That shift gave the IceCaps momentum heading into overtime.
“After they scored, Kinger, Gags and Maxy had an unbelievable push-back shift,” Trotter said. “That was a huge part of going into overtime. That shift was huge for us.”
Sunday’s game is 5:30 NL time. Catch all the action with broadcaster Brian Rogers on www.stjohnsicecaps.com and This is Newfoundland Labrador 930 AM. Fans can also view the live stream at www.ahllive.com.
D Jason DeSantis and LW Marco Rosa were replaced in the lineup for the game by D Zach Redmond and LW Max Macenauer… Captain Jason Jaffray became assistant coach Jaffray for the game. The injured winger joined the team for the road trip and was put to work behind the bench with McCambridge and Mark Morrison… Despite not getting an official shot registered in the second period, the club took approximately four shots, although two were from 180 feet on penalty kills. It was the first time all season the IceCaps did not register a single shot on goal in a period.