Goaltender Peter Mannino turned in a sold performance from start to finish as the St. John's IceCaps won their second straight game in their young history, blanking the Manchester Monarchs 1-0 Saturday night in New Hampshire.
Mannino, the game's first star, faced 23 shots and was cool, calm collected in his first start of the season, but never more than midway though the third period, stopping three close-in shots in quick succession, finished off by a superb glove-hand save on Monarchs' forward Brandon Kozun.
Riley Holzapfel had the game's only goal, getting his first of the season on a power play exactly five minutes into the contest. Holzapfel, who had taken a couple of hard hits early in the contest, including one that drew a penalty that led to the power play, redirected Zach Redmond's feed from the point up and over Monarchs' goalie Martin Jones.
That was only one of two power plays for St. John's, while the Los Angeles Kings-affiliated Monarchs, with a high-powered lineup featuring three former major junior scoring champs, enjoyed five man-advantage opportunities. However, the IceCaps penalty-killers were perfect for a second straight game. Including Friday's season-opening and franchise-starting 4-1 victory over the Bruins in Providence, St. John's has successfully dealt with nine power-plays and has scored a shorthanded goal along the way.
The IceCaps return to St. John's today to prepare for their home-opener Friday night at Mile One Centre, where they host the Hamilton Bulldogs. That will open a six-game homestand for St. John's.
The games three stars were 1. Mannino 2. Holzapfel 3. Jones ... This reporter's choice as the hardest-working IceCap was defenceman Brett Festerling ... Attendance was 5,808 at the Verizon Wireless Arena, which has a hockey capacity of just under 10,000 ... Mark Flood had the other assist on the St. John's. He and Holzapfel both have two points on the season, most on the team .. The IceCaps are scooting to Boston's Logan Airport. Since I have to join them, we'll cut this short.