No member of the St. John's IceCaps got a louder ovation than goaltender Eddie Pasquale during player introductions prior to the IceCaps' 2012-13 AHL home-opener against the Adirondack Phantoms a Mile One Centre Friday night.
Pasquale didn't disappoint his many fans among the 47th straight sellout crowd at Mile One, making 32 saves as the IceCaps edged the Phantoms 2-1.
Travis Ramsey, playing his first game of the season, was an unlikely scoring hero for the IceCaps (2-1). Normally a steady stay-at-home defenceman, Ramsey pinched from the blueline and did justice to a beautiful pass-pass setup at the back door courtesy of Jason King and Ben Maxwell, slipping the puck past Phantoms' goalie Scott Munroe at 9:11 of the third For the game-winning tally.
There were nervous times late for St. John's, with Maxime Macenauer drawing a penalty with about two and a half minutes left in the game, but the Phantoms (1-2) could not manufacture an equalizer, even after pulling Munroe for an extra attacker while the power play was still on.
The IceCaps dominated the opening period, outshooting the visitors 12-7 and getting a goal from Macenauer on a redirection of Zach Redmond blast, but things flipped in the second, when Adirondack held a distinct advantage, and was rewarded with Andrew Johnston's first pro goal, again on a deflected shot.
It could have been worse for St. John's in the middle frame if not for the goaltending of Pasquale, who made 14 stops in the period. By game's end, shots were 33-26 in favour of Adirondack.
Each team had five power plays, but none of the three goals in the contest came with the man advantage.
The two teams hook up again tonight, 7:30 p.m., at Mile One.
Friday's three stars: 1. Pasquale 2. Ramsey 3. Adirondack defenceman Danny Syvret. Alex Burmistrov was the choice as the hardest-working IceCap ... One fight in the game, an energetic first-period affair featuring the Phantoms' Cullen Eddy and Spencer Machacek, the leading scorer for St. John's last season ... IceCaps' scratches Friday: defenceman Paul Postma and forwards Ray Sawada, Jason Jaffray, Carl Klingberg and Ryan Schnell (all recovering/preparing to return from injuries), as well as forwards Derek Whitmore (veteran rule) and Jason Gregoire and rearguard Julian Melchiori. Besides Ramsey, forwards Eric O'Dell and John Albert also played their first games of the season for St. John's ... Margaret Thorne, 86, who has been a season-ticket holder for AHL games at Mile One ever since the Maple Leafs arrived here in 1991 (and for the QMJHL's St. John's Fog Devils in the years between the Leafs and IceCaps) joined IceCaps president Danny Williams (whose pre-game ovation even topped Pasquale's), St. John's mayor Dennis O'Keefe and Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle to drop the puck for the ceremonial opening faceoff prior to Friday's game. Carlyle is the former coach of the Manitoba Moose, the previous incarnation of the IceCaps ... Adirondack defenceman Brandon Manning is from Prince George, B.C., but has plenty of Newfoundland connections through his maternal grandparents. His grandfather, Alan Wells, is the brother of former Newfoundland premier Clyde Wells, while his grandmother Mona is sister of Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Hall of Famer and former MHA Bill Hogan of Placentia, and Jack Hogan of Torbay, a member of the provincial bowling Hall of Fame. Manning is a second-year pro who made his NHL debut last season, playing four games with the parent Philadelphia Flyers ... A large contingent of officials from the parent Winnipeg Jets, headed up by Jets owner Mark Chipman, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff and head coach Claude Noel, took in the IceCaps' home-opener ... The Once sang the national anthems Friday, including the Ode to Newfoundland ... The 50-50 payout was over $19,000 ...
This story has been edited since it was first published.