They had their Paddy’s Day duds on Friday night, but the luck of the Irish was not on the St. John’s IceCaps side as the American Hockey League’s hottest team saw its nine-game win streak snapped with a 7-4 loss to the Portland Pirates.
Portland Pirates’ Ethan Werek (8) heads towards the St. John’s IceCaps goal as he is pursued by IceCaps’ Josh Lunden during first-period AHL action at Mile One Centre Friday night. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
For a game that featured a sluggish start for the home team, the IceCaps sure offered an exciting finish, rallying from a four-goal deficit to draw within a goal of the Pirates, only to fall just short in the third period.
Tobias Rieder, Jordan Szwarz, Jordan Martinook, Phil Lane, Darian Dziurzynski, Brandon Yip and Lucas Lessio scored for the winners. Adam Lowry, Will O’Neill, Patrice Cormier and J.C. Lipon replied.
The IceCaps opened the first period flatter than a shamrock, and the Pirates took advantage as Rieder put the visitors in the board 7:50 in when he streaked down the right wing, cut to the middle and caught IceCaps netminder Michael Hutchinson going the other way.
Yip made it a 2-0 game just over three minutes later on the power play, and Szwarz staked Portland to a 3-0 lead, redirecting a Jordan Southorn shot from the point after a poor clearing attempt by IceCaps defenceman Zach Redmond.
Dziurzynski cranked the heat up on the IceCaps even more, scoring with less than a minute left in the opening frame for a most comfortable 4-0 lead.
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The IceCaps got back in the game in the middle stanza, drawing to within two goals of the Pirates. Lowry got St. John’s on the scoreboard five minutes into the period, cashing in his 16th goal on the season, 11th in the past 21 games.
Then O’Neill – and you knew an O’Neill would score on Paddy’s Day weekend – scored his eighth goal to make it a 4-2 game.
Ben Chiarot picked up a five-minute boarding major and game misconduct late in the second period, and Portland cashed in early in the third on Lessio’s tally. But wouldn’t you know it, Cormier scored shorthanded. That was followed by a Lipon goal, his third in two games, to make it 5-4 and it was game on.
Mile One was alive, but the electricity fizzled when rookie Brenden Kichton turned puck over in his own zone and Lane scored at 12:08, effectively ending the game.
Martinook scored into an empty net.
The teams go at it again 7:30 tonight.