If there was one bugaboo in what was a positive inaugural 2011-12 season for the St. John's IceCaps it was their inability to make a habit of winning both ends of the traditional two-game series against visiting teams.
That didn't change over the weekend at Mile One Centre as the Adirondack Phantoms came away with a split as the result of a 4-3 win over the IceCaps Saturday.
St. John's won its home-opener, beating the Phantoms 2-1 Friday
Brayden Schenn scored what would stand as the game-winner with seven minutes left in Saturday's game. Zach Redmond's power-play goal with four minutes left in the game brought St. John's to within one, but there was to be no equalizing tally.
Not that the IceCaps didn't come close in the late going. With the sides playing four-on-four and IceCaps' goalie Eddie Pasquale on the bench for an extra attacker, lockout present Alex Burmistrov, the home side's best skater in the weekend series, was set up at the backdoor on a lovely passing play, but half-fanned on a shot that came with one tick left on the clock and an open net awaiting.
St. John's had carried a 2-0 lead into the midway point of the second period, on John Albert's first-period marker and Ivan Telegin's first pro goal at 8:06 of the middle frame. The Telegin tally came when the Russian rookie's feed to the front of the net went off a Phantoms defender and past goalie Scott Munroe. That goal came just after Pasquale had stopped Garrett Roe on a penalty shot, awarded when referee Terry Koharski ruled a Roe breakaway was impeded by St. John's defenceman Will O'Neill.
But whatever momentum the IceCaps had gained through the sequence of events soon disappeared. Seventy-six seconds after Telegin's goal, Adirondack rearguard Brandon Manning got his side on the scoreboard, blasting a shot past Pasquale during a power-play. Twenty-seven seconds after that, Shane Hunter scored to tie it up, depositing the puck into a wide-open cage after Pasquale was left out of position by a marvelous save, albeit it one that went for naught.
Zac Rinaldo had the other Adirondack marker, putting the visitors up 3-2 (their first lead of the weekend), scoring on a two-on-one at 12:06 and less than a minute before Schenn's goal.
The IceCaps won't wait long for another chance at a two-game sweep. The Portland Pirates are in town Tuesday and Wednesday for what will be the third and fourth games of a six-game homestand.
The weekend result leaves both St. John's and Adirondack, the farm team of the Philadelphia Flyers, with 2-2 records ... Shots on goal were 34-32 in favour of St. John's ... IceCaps' scratches Saturday: defencemen Paul Postma and Ben Chiarot and forwards Aaron Gagnon, Jason Jaffray, Ray Sawada, Patrice Cormier, Ryan Schnell and Carl Klingberg. All are hurt or on the verge of returning from injuries except for Gagnon and Chiarot. With Derek Whitmore drawing into the lineup for his first game with St. John's, Gagnon had to sit out because of the AHL veteran rule ... Saturday's Coors Light three stars: 1. Schenn 2. Burmistrov 3. Rinaldo. Albert was the choice as the Mary Brown's hardest-working IceCap ...