The St. John’s IceCaps will try to salvage a win from a three-game exhibition series with the Syracuse Crunch — the Mary Brown’s Cup — when the teams meet 2 o’clock Sunday at the Clarenville Events Centre.
The IceCaps dropped a pair of games to the Crunch in western Newfoundland, the latest a 3-2 shootout before a full house of 1,800 at the Stephenville Dome.
Friday night in Corner Brook, Syracuse came away with a 4-1 win.
The IceCaps, with a 41-man American Hockey League roster this week at training camp in Corner Brook, are expected to make cuts today.
Stephenville hockey fans were treated to a spirited affair, which featured end-to-end action on the big Dome ice, capped off with a shootout that saw the Crunch outscore the IceCaps 3-1.
Brett Connolly, whose parents hail from the Bay St. George area, and Matt Taormina scored for the Crunch in regulation time. Impressive Hunter Tremblay, who spent last season with the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons, and Carl Klingberg had the St. John’s goals.
Tremblay scored the only goal of a quick opening period, one-timing a Derek Whitmore feed past Crunch goalie Riku Helenius while St. John’s enjoyed a five-on-three man advantage.
Klingberg staked St. John’s to a 2-0 lead 1:03 into the second period, converting a Whitmore pass just as the latter exited the penalty box.
Connolly, with his connection to the area, gave the local fans something to cheer about at 7:24, surprising St. John’s goaltender Eddie Pasquale with a quick, hard shot on the off wing.
Defenceman Taormina’s backhand with Alex Burmistrov in the penalty box for high sticking knotted the game 2-2, forcing overtime.
Four-on-four OT proved to be a thriller, with St. John’s defenceman Ben Chiarot picking up a holding minor with two-and-a-half minutes remaining.
Still, it was the IceCaps with best scoring chances as Patrice Cormier hit the post and Burmistrov was foiled on a breakaway.
In the shootout, Ondrej Palat and Klingberg traded goals, but then it was all Syracuse as the Crunch scored twice more, while Tremblay, Burmistrov and Whitmore were stopped by Helenius.