The St. John's IceCaps were winners in their first-ever American Hockey League contest, defeating the Providence Bruins 4-1 at The Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, R.I., on Friday night.
Mark Flood, Paul Postma, Carl Klingberg and captain Jason Jaffray had the goals for the IceCaps, who outshot the Bruins 31-22.
Max Sauve replied for the Bruins.
Flood got the IceCaps' first-ever goal with a shot from the point at 1:15 of the first period that deflected in off a P-Bruins defender, with Marco Rosa and Spencer Machacek drawing assists.
The home side tied it up less than three minutes later when Sauve's wrist shot beat St. John's goalie David Aebischer. At that point, Aebischer looked far from comfortable, but that changed in the middle portion of the opening frame after Klingberg was called for a high stick on Providence defenceman Colby Cohen that drew blood from Cohen and a double minor for the IceCaps' rookie Swede. St. John's killed off the penalty, largely due to the work of Aebischer, who made 10 straight stops while his team was shorthanded.
He was less busy the rest of way, facing just nine shots over the remaining 47 minutes, as St. John's took control of the contest. The IceCaps weren't scintillating, but they were solid, going in front for good midway through the second period on the nicest goal of the night, with defenceman Paul Postma's wrist shot putting the nice finishing touch on a give-and-go with rookie Shayne Wiebe during a three-on-two rush. Rearguard Arturs Kulda drew the other assist
Just a little over two minutes later, Klingberg started supplying the insurance premiums, redirecting Brett Festerling's shot past Priovidence goalie Anton Khodubin. Garth Murray, the centre on what was a good-looking fourth line with Klingberg and Shawn Weller, got an assist.
Jaffray got the fourth goal in the third during a St. John's penalty kill, tapping in a bounding puck from the periphery of the crease. Riley Holzapfel and Travis Ramsey were awarded assists on the shorthanded marker.
Next up for the IceCaps are the Manchester Monarchs, who were leading the Springfield Falcons 5-2 in the third period at the time of this writing. That game gets underway at 8:30 p.m. Newfoundland time, with Brian Rogers' pre-game show starting at 8 p.m. on 930 AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador and online.
That game will conclude a mini two-game opening road trip for the IceCaps, who return to St. John's Sunday to prepare for their home-opener Oct. 14 against the Hamilton Bulldogs.
The three stars Fridaty were 1. Davis Aebischer (SJs) 2. Mark Flood (SJs) and 3. Max Sauve (Pro). In this reporter's opinion, Goalie Anton Khodubin was the best P-Bruin, while any number of IceCaps coulld have been considered for a star turn. The choice by your... s truly as St. John's hardest-working player was rookie centre John Albert ... St. John's was zero-for-three on the power play, while Providence went unrewarded in four opportunities ... Kulda, Flood and Holzapfel all were plus-two for St. John's. Ramsey was the shots leader with four ... AHL president Dave Andrews took in the game ... Season tickets for the IceCaps will be available for distribution today at the Holiday in St. John's between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. The sale of single-game tickets for IceCaps' contests starts today. They are available at the Mile One Centre box office or online at admissions.com