Eric O’Dell scored two goals and Kael Mouillierat had a goal and two assists as the St. John’s IceCaps doubled the Binghamton Senators in the first matchup of a critical six-game American Hockey League homestand Friday night.
Kevin Clark also scored for the IceCaps at Mile One Centre, and chipped in with a helper, as St. John’s improved to 20-22-1-2 on the year.
The IceCaps entered Friday 13th in the Eastern Conference, and four points out of a playoff spot, setting the stage for the next half-dozen games at home, with wins a must.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Shane Prince replied for the Senators, whose lineup has been decimated thanks to recalls to parent Ottawa.
Jakob Silfverberg, Andre Benoit and Patrick Wiercioch, three of Bingo’s top six scorers, cracked Ottawa’s lineup out of training camp, and top prospect Mika Zibanejad was recalled earlier this week to replace Jason Speeza.
On top of that, Mike Hoffman, Binghamton’s top scorer with Silfverberg and Benoit now in Ottawa, was injured last week.
O’Dell netted the first of his two goals just 2:20 after the opening faceoff, collecting his 10th goal on the year as robust St. John’s forward Patrice Cormier did yeoman work screening 6-foot-5 Binghamton goalie Robin Lehner.
It stood 1-0 until the 16:20 mark when Pageau capitalized on some Travis Ramsey tough luck when the Binghamton forward’s shot from the blueline deflected off the IceCaps ‘ skate past Eddie Pasquale.
It was the buzzsaw Clark who restored the St. John’s lead, again with an early goal to start the period. Clark took a nice pass from defenceman Ben Chiarot and blasted a low shot that labeled the far corner to Lehner’s stick side for his fifth on the year just two minutes into the middle stanza.
O’Dell tallied his second goal of the night at the 17:02 mark, thanks to some hard work by Mouillierat. The Edmonton native recently signed to an AHL contract after playing on a professional tryout since a recall from the ECHL, hustled to pick up a loose puck behind the Senators net and passed out front to O’Dell, who one-timed the puck past Lehner.
Shots on the goal in the second period, by the way, were 15-3 in favour of the IceCaps.
Prince made things interesting with a goal at 8:27 of the third, but Mouillierat potted the insurance goal at 16:06 of the third period, his fifth goal this season and 14th point.
The teams go at it again 7:30 tonight at Mile One.