The St. John’s Toyota Plaza Caps cruised to a 5-1 win over the Trinity Placentia I.J.Smith and Sons Flyers at Twin Rinks Wednesday night in a game that saw the visitors throw in the towel with a little less than half the third to play.
The win gives the Caps a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven Kent St. John’s Junior Hockey League semifinal. Game 5 is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday at Twin Rinks.
Defenceman Roger Pender led the winners with two goals and a pair of assists. Kyle McGuirk, Mike King and Riley Edwards each added singles.
Jungle Jim’s player of the game Jeremy Nicholas replied for the Flyers who fell behind 3-1 two minutes into the third on Pender’s second goal.
While St. John’s were outplaying Trinity Placentia, the game was still on the line with seven minutes to play and the Caps leading by two. All of a sudden the meltdown began with Flyers’ goalie Matthew Power taking a needless slashing penalty.
From then on, there was a steady parade of Flyers’ penalties for the remainder of the game and the Caps popped in a pair of power play markers for the final score.
When asked about his team’s breakdown in the third period, Flyers’ coach Eugene Hutchings said, “I have no idea,” before adding, “Frustration I guess. I dunno.”
Hutchings said all his team can do now is take it one game at a time.
“We’ve got to buckle down now, haven’t we?”
Caps coach Paul Whittle said the Flyers were putting up a lot of fight until Pender’s third-period marker which he says seemed to “take the wind out of their sails.”
“That was a big one and then they started to take some bad penalties and we took advantage of it,” Whittle added.
Pender felt his second goal was a turning point in the game, but noted, “It was full team effort.”
The defenceman, who earned Jungle Jim’s player of the game honours for the home side, is confident the Caps will be moving on to the league final.
“I think we’ve got it in the bag now,” Pender insisted.
The teams played on pretty much even terms for the first two periods.
Midway through the first period, Power came up with back-to-back, point-blank saves on Ryan Hawco and Edwards to keep the game scoreless.
Another standout on the Caps’ defence was Ryan Hawco who made two one-on-one stops in the game against Darrin Wilkins, one of the more dangerous Flyers.
St. John’s netminder Scott Bray turned aside 32 shots, while Power stopped 32 of 37 shots on goal.
The Caps were without standout defenceman Patrick Parfrey who is at a rugby training camp in British Columbia and they lost the services of forward Robbie Hynd five minutes into the game when he took a hitting-from-behind penalty.
The other semifinal between the Mount Pearl Mark’s Work Wearhouse Blades and the Avalon Roebothan McKay Marshall Capitals resumes 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Glacier.
The Capitals lead the best-of-seven series 1-0 after a 4-2 victory in Game 1.