Albany, N.Y. ‚ÄĒ The first-round playoff series between the St. John‚Äôs IceCaps and Albany Devils is heading back to Mile One Centre for a best-of-three showdown, and if the IceCaps are to move on to the next round of the Calder Cup post season, they must stay out of the penalty box.
IceCaps Eric O'Dell spars with an unidentified Albany Devils player during regular season action in this submitted photo by James DiBianco
The Devils scored three power play goals Saturday night in a 4-2 win to even the series at a game apiece. St. John‚Äôs won Game 1 Friday 2-1.
Counting Joe Whitney‚Äôs goal in Game 1, four of the Devils‚Äô five goals have come with the man advantage.
Of course, Albany had plenty of practice Saturday, with nine power plays to the IceCaps‚Äô four. Albany had a pair of five-on-three advantages, and St. John‚Äôs had one.
There wasn‚Äôt an abundance of infractions called ‚Äď 14 in total ‚Äď but frustrating to watch was the officiating duo of Terry Koharski and Keith Kaval and their inability to have any kind of feel for the game.
Not that anyone on the IceCaps was about to complain of the officials. That‚Äôs an easy way to lose money, via fines.
Rather, and rightfully so, captain Jason Jaffray and coach Keith McCambridge both agreed the IceCaps need to exhibit more discipline.
‚ÄúThe penalties I saw were penalties,‚ÄĚ said Jaffray, who was in the box for tripping when Mattias Tedenby netted the winning goal in the second period.
‚ÄúYou could argue it should have been more even, but at the end of the day, the penalties we took were penalties.
‚ÄúYou have to give Albany credit. They came out with a lot of energy and they caused us to take a few penalties. We took some in the offensive zone that really hurt us, myself included. I‚Äôm not one of those guys who is going to complain about the officiating. They outplayed us and drew more penalties than us.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúIt was just one of those games where it was really hard to get any kind of rhythm when there were so many special teams involved,‚ÄĚ McCambridge said.
‚ÄúObviously, we would have liked to not be on the short end of the penalties for the majority of the night, but we have to make sure that we are in control.
‚ÄúWe have to make sure we realize where we are in the game and try to keep it five on five.‚ÄĚ
Reid Boucher, Stefan Matteau and Scott Timmons also scored for the winners. Brenden Kichton had both St. John‚Äôs goals, meaning three of the four IceCaps goals in this series have come from defencemen.
Rearguard Ben Chiarot scored the game-winner Friday night.
The IceCaps were outshot 17-9 in the first period, in part because St. John‚Äôs was slapped with the only three penalties in the opening 20 minutes.
The Devils continued to take it to the IceCaps in the second, outchancing their guests 12-3.
Truth be told, the IceCaps were very, very lucky to be through 40 minutes of play and trailing only 3-2.
To their credit, they threw everything at the Devils in the last period of play, but Albany goalie Keith Kincaid, a well-deserved first star, stopped all 20 shots he faced.
‚ÄúIf you want to take something positive out of it,‚ÄĚ Jaffray said, ‚Äúwe did have a great push in the third period, and I thought we were really good five-on-five.
‚ÄúWe just have to be more disciplined out there.‚ÄĚ
Kincaid finished the night with 30 saves on 32 shots. Michael Hutchinson, with another solid outing, stopped 30 of 34 shots.
Game 3 of the series goes 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Mile One, followed by Game 4 Friday night and, if necessary, Game 5 Saturday.