IceCaps’ road show was a big hit

Staff ~ The Telegram
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St. John’s finishes trip with four straight wins, but moving up the standings is proving tough

It was a happy 25th birthday for St. John’s IceCaps’ forward Ben Maxwell (49) Saturday night as he scored two goals against the Worcester Sharks and goalie Thomas Greiss as the IceCaps rallied for a 5-4 American Hockey League win in Worcester, Mass. St. John’s scored twice in the last three minutes of regulation time, including a goal by Maxwell with 53 seconds remaining in the third period. Maxwell then got the game-winner just 23 seconds into OT. He finished the night with three points and a plus-four rating. The result gave the IceCaps four straight wins on what was a five-game road trip. St. John’s finishes off its regular-season home schedule with a six-game stand at Mile One Centre, beginning Friday night against the Toronto Marlies. — Worcester Sharks photo

Don’t look now, but guess which team has won six of its last seven hockey games?

Problem is, despite the refreshing string of victories, the St. John’s IceCaps haven’t moved very much in the American Hockey League’s Eastern Conference standings, remaining mired in 14th place, 10 points out of a playoff position with nine games left to play in the regular season.

At least the IceCaps are winning, however, as they return home for their final regular-season homestand at Mile One Centre, starting this weekend with the Toronto Marlies in for a pair of games Friday and Saturday, the Portland Pirates next Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by the finale with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in town April 13-14.

The latest St. John’s win was a come-from-behind 5-4 overtime decision over the Worcester Sharks Saturday night at the DCU Centre in western Massachusetts, capping off a 4-1 road swing that began with a 4-2 loss to the Pirates March 22.

The four-game win streak is a season-high stretch for the IceCaps.

Ben Maxwell, celebrating his 25th birthday, scored the tying goal with 53 seconds remaining in regulation time, and then potted the game-winner just 23 seconds into extra time.

Maxwell, with nine goals and 21 assists in 65 games, has languished through a sub-par season, but has been on fire of late, with four goals and seven points in his last three games.

Jason Gregoire, Aaron Gagnon and Will O’Neill also scored for St. John’s.

Gagnon, who had an awful start to the 2012-13 campaign, going 18 games without a point, has also been on a tear of late, with at least a point in 12 straight games, a team record. He had a goal and an assist against the Sharks, had two goals Wednesday night in a 4-2 win over the Albany Devils and three assists last Saturday in a 4-3 win over the Manchester Monarchs.

The teams were tied 1-1 after the first period, and 2-2 after 40 minutes.

The Sharks led 4-2 late in regulation time before O’Neill scored his second on the year at the 17:16 mark, setting the stage for Maxwell’s heroics.

Eddie Pasquale, making his first start since March 9, stopped 30 shots for his 15th win.

Organizations: IceCaps, American Hockey League, Toronto Marlies Portland Pirates DCU Centre

Geographic location: Wilkes-Barre, Massachusetts

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  • Chav
    April 01, 2013 - 14:18

    Even if they win everyone of their remaining games they'll finish with the same number of points that the 9th place team finished with last season. Last season, 8th place had a worse winning % then the the 8th place team currently does. If the 8th place team continues to win at their current rate, the IceCaps can win every remaining game and still finish 9th with less points then 8th. The odds of them winning every single one of their remaining games are slim and the odds of a team (or teams) deviating that much from their winning streak -- established over the previous 70 games -- is even slimmer. It would be quite a turn of fortune to see them not only win every remaining game but also see the majority of teams in the 7th, 8th and 9th spots falter enough to open the door.