St. John’s bounces back from loss to Worcester to down first-place Manchester
Keith McCambridge summed it up as, “just a win”, but you know the St. John’s IceCaps coach had to be pumped with his team’s 3-1 win over the first-place Manchester Monarchs Saturday night.
The victory came on the heels of a 5-2 loss to the Worcester Sharks Friday night in Worcester, as the IceCaps resumed their American Hockey League schedule following an 11-day holiday break.
“Whenever you have a break like the one we had,” McCambridge said Sunday, “there’s a concern about how sharp you’re going to be with that extended period of time off. It was something we worried about.
“But I liked our start (against the Sharks). We had surprisingly more jump than I thought we would have. We got the first goal, and had a chance at the end of the first period, beginning of second, to go up by two on the power play. We didn’t score, and we let it slip away in the second (as the Sharks scored three unanswered goals).
“But we went into Manchester, against a top team, and the speed at which they played was at a lot higher level than the previous night. The time we had off, I felt that was more of a factor in Saturday’s game than it was against Worcester because we matched them (in the skating department).”
Eddie Pasquale made his first start Saturday since a minor injury sidelined him for two games prior to Christmas — Pasquale backed up Jussi Olkinuora Friday — and he came within 53 seconds of posting his second shutout of the season. Nick Deslauriers scored at 19:07 to ruin Pasquale’s shutout bid.
Pasquale stopped 35 of 36 shots against a team that’s first in the Eastern Conference and second overall in the league.
“He was good,” McCambridge said of his goalie. “He had a real strong outing.”
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Will O’Neill and Andrew Gordon scored power play goals 57 seconds apart in the second period to stake the IceCaps to a 2-0 lead Saturday at the Verizon Wireless Centre in Manchester. Rookie Adam Lowry netted his third goal on the year, an insurance marker, at 2:48 of the second period as the IceCaps improved to 16-12-1-2.
The IceCaps fired 22 shots at Jean-Francois Berube in the Monarchs’ net.
Friday night at the DCU Centre in Worcester, the Sharks scored four straight goals — three in the second period and one in the third — to beat the IceCaps. Five different Worcester players — Freddie Hamilton, Taylor Doherty, Marek Viedensky, Brodie Reid and Eriah Hayes — scored for the Sharks. J.C. Lipon and Zach Redmond replied for St. John’s, which received a 28-save performance from Olkinuora.
Harri Sateri made 34 saves in the Worcester net.
“The guys seem refreshed,” McCambridge said. “I think maybe down the road you will see if the break gives them a little extra jump.”
The IceCaps are in Springfield, Mass. to play the Falcons on New Years Eve, Tuesday, before returning home and getting ready for a three-game series with the Portland Pirates Saturday night, Sunday afternoon and next Tuesday at Mile One Centre.
The Pirates’ series is the first of eight straight home games for the IceCaps in January. The Toronto Marlies visit Jan. 10-11, followed by the Manchester Monarchs Jan. 17, 18 and the 20th.