Heading into Monday’s American Hockey League matchup agains Binghamton Senators, St. John’s IceCaps head coach Keith McCambridge had a feeling it could turn out to be a special game for his team.
In many ways, the IceCaps’ 3-2 victory over the Eastern Conference-leading Senators was just that.
Just how special it might be remains to be seen.
“Looking ahead as a coach, I was thinking this was the sort of game where a team can get some traction on the season,” said McCambridge after his club’s third win in four games.
“This could turn out to be one of those situations.”
Kael Mouillierat and Jason Gregoire scored third-period goals for St. John’s (18-20-3), which overcame what could have been a traumatic tally by Binghamton, a shorthanded marker by Derek Grant with 0.5 seconds remaining in the middle period.
“Those kinds of goals are the ones you look for to build momentum. They’re the ones you want to score, certainly not to have scored against you,” said McCambridge. “But the way the guys came out in the third ... I was really proud of this team.”
The IceCaps outshot the Senators 21-6 in the final frame and 39-34 overall.
St. John’s held a 1-0 lead after the first period on Maxime Macenauer’s eight goal of the season, but fell behind when Mika Zibanejad and Grant scored in the second for Binghamton (21-10-4).
The game’s first star was IceCaps’ goalie Eddie Pasquale, who was coming off a shutout performance in a 1-0 victory over the Norfolk Admirals Saturday in southeastern Virginia.
Pasquale has perhaps been the biggest contributor to a midseason rally that has seen St. John’s take points in four straight contests, including a 4-2 home-ice win over the Toronto Marlies and a 3-2 shootout loss to the Admirals Friday in a game that kicked off what will be a six-game road trip for the IceCaps
Fellow goaltender Mark Dekanich has rejoined the IceCaps on the road as he continues to work his way back from a hamstring injury, but with Pasquale as hot as the proverbial pistol, McCambridge sounded like he’d stay with his present starter even if Dekanich was ready to return to action.
“I will ride him as far as he can go,” said McCambridge, whose team continues its road trip — and its quest to get back into the playoff race — Wednesday night in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., against the Penguins.