Brenden Kichton scores twice to lead St. John's to 4-2 win over Hershey
Hershey, Pa., has been called the "Sweetest Place on Earth," and was indeed that Wednesday night for the St. John’s IceCaps, who put forth one of their better efforts of the season with a 4-2 American Hockey League win over the Bears in Chocolatetown.
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Rookie defenceman Brenden Kichton scored twice, while linemates Patrice Cormier and Kael Mouillierat each had a goal and an assist for St. John’s (10-8-3), winner of three of the first four games of a six-game road trip that finishes up on this weekend.
Peter LeBlanc and Ryan Stoa, the latter in the waning seconds of the contest, replied for Hershey (6-7-4).
Cormier, with his third of the season, opened the scoring four minutes into the contest, but Leblanc knotted the affair later in the opening frame, getting credit for a power-play tally on a redirection.
Kichton put St. John’s back ahead on its own power play midway through the second period with a well-placed wrist shot. It was the only goal the IceCaps had on eight man-advantage opportunities Wednesday, but extended a streak that has seen them score on the PP in three straight games. In fact, of the last 10 goals St. John’s has scored, six have come on the power play.
Mouillierat got what would stand as the game-winner when he registered his fifth goal of the season at 10:19 of the third, but only after a video review determined the puck had indeed made it over the line.
Kichton, with an empty-netter, and Stoa accounted for the final entries on the scoresheet with goals in the last 71 seconds.
The game featured two of the AHL’s hardest-working netminders in the IceCaps’ Eddie Pasquale and Hershey’s David Leggio. The latter led all league goalies with 64 appearances last season when he was with the Rochester Americans. Pasquale played his 17th game of this campaign Wednesday, tying him with Norfolk’s John Gibson for the AHL lead in that category. He also became the first goaltender in the league to put in more than 1,000 minutes of playing time in 2013-14.
Leggio was the busier of the two in their matchup, facing 31 shots, but Pasquale, coming off a rare game where he did not play (backup Jussi Olkinuora got his first pro win Sunday against Bridgeport) was particularly solid in the third period, making a dozen saves, the only blemish coming when Stoa scored at 19:56 after an IceCaps’ turnover.
Pasquale ended the night with 23 saves and also picked up his first point of the season with an assist on Kichton’s first goal.
St. John’s winds up its six-game road trip with games Friday night in Syracuse, N.Y., against the Crunch and Saturday night in Binghamton, N.Y., versus the Senators. The IceCaps were to have travelled to Syracuse after Wednesday’s game, but a storm that was pounding the U.S. northeast — rain in Pennsylvania and snow in New York state — made driving treacherous, so the decision was made to remain in the Hershey area and bus out this morning.
NOTES: Both Brenden Kichton and Kael Moullierat finished plus-three in the game for St. John's ... IceCaps winger Jerome Samson was forced from the game after a big hit by Bears' captain Dane Byers in the second period ... Hershey defenceman Dmitry Orlov played his first game with the Bears after being returned by the parent Washington Capitals and a trade demand by his agent, Mark Gandler. The Russian rearguard has already been recalled to Washington four times this season without having appeared in a game for the Capitals ... Scratches for the IceCaps Wednesday included defencemen Ben Chiarot (flu), Zach Redmond (leg injury, day-to-day) and Will O’Neill, along with forwards Josh Lunden (injured, not travelling with team), Austen Brassard and JC Lipon. The latter was serving the second game of a two-game league-imposed suspension handed out after he received a match penalty for a hit to the head of Wilkies-Barre Penguins’ Tom Kunhackl Saturday night … O'Neill, who had been a healthy scratch for the first three games of the current road trip, had originally been slated to play in Hershey, but a late, late change saw Travis Ehrhardt draw into the lineup instead …Rearguard Julian Melchiori played his first game for St. John's after being returned from the parent team in Winnipeg. Melchiori spent almost a week with the Jets but is still looking to play his first NHL game … IceCaps' broadcaster Brian Rogers reported St. John's forward Andrew Gordon got a loud and warm reception from Hershey fans prior to the warm-up skate when he appeared on his team's bench as his pre-game habit. Gordon spent his first four pro seasons in Hershey, where he helped the Bears win two Calder Cups… Wednesday’s Molson Cup three stars: 1. Kael Mouillierat, SJs; 2. Patrice Cormier, SJs; 3. David Leggio, Her … Rogers’ choice as the IceCaps’ hardest-working player: captain Jason Jaffray …