It took a little longer than they would have liked, but the St. John's IceCaps came up with a much-needed 4-3 win over the Albany Devils Friday night, prevailing in a shootout in American Hockey League action at Mile One Centre.
Alex Burmistrov of St. John's was successful on the first shootout attempt of the session, but Mattias Tedenby, one of number of lockout assignees by the parent New Jersey Devils, evened things on Albany's first try. There were no more goals until the fifth round, when St. John's captain Jason Jaffray waited out Keith Kincaid before scoring over the sprawling Devils goalie.
However, the IceCaps still needed a big save — his fourth of the shootout — from netminder Mark Dekanich, who foiled 2012 Calder Trophy finalist Adam Henrique on the Devils' last attempt.
The result evens the IceCaps' record at 7-7 and, combined with a 2-1 win in Hershey last Saturday, gives St. John's back-to-back wins for only the second time this season.
The IceCaps, who are on the front end of a six-game homestand, get a chance to make it three wins in a row as they take on the Devils (3-5-4) in a rematch tonight (7:30 p.m.) at Mile One.
St. John's never trailed in Friday's game. After a scoreless first period, the IceCaps jumped to a 2-0 lead in the middle frame on goals by Ray Sawada and Carl Klingberg.
Sawada's tally, his first of the season, came at 1:54 of the period on a set-up by Maxime Macenauer. Even though Sawada was being hauled down on the play, the big winger got his stick on the puck and managed to to fire it past Kincaid.
Six minutes later, Klingberg stepped inside the blueline along the boards and snapped well-placed 50-foot shot to beat Kincaid low on the glove side.
Albany captain and veteran defenceman Jay Leach got his team on the board at 11:01 of the frame, beating a screened Dekanich on a shot from the point.
Penalty trouble cost St. John's in the third, with Albany drawing four straight power plays, and getting two goals as a result. Henrique got the first one at 3:45 to tie the game at 2-2, and the Devils produced another at 17:56, this time by fellow NHLer Jacob Josefson to make it 3-3. In between, the IceCaps had fashioned the nicest goal of the of the night, with passes from Ivan Telegin and Eric O'Dell providing a nifty set-up for Zach Redmond. The second-year defenceman made no mistake, registering his fourth marker of the season, tying him for the team lead with O'Dell and giving St. John's a 3-2 lead that held up until Josefson's late goal.
The rulings didn't all go against St. John's in the period as the Devils had two potential goals voided by officials' decisions.
The first instance — just 25 seconds into the period — saw video review, now permanently instituted in the AHL, make its Mile One debut.
In that case, referee Tim Mayer watched a replay of video from a camera fixed above the net and synchronized with the scoreclock before ruling the puck had entered the St. John's net after it had been dislodged.
The second wave-off came midway through the frame, but this time it was a matter of Mayer consulting with the linesmen, with the eventual conclusion that Devils' player Steve Zalewski had made incidental contact with Dekanich in the crease before the puck crossed the line.
Overall, shots on goal in the game were 31-30 for Albany, with St. John's registering the only two during an overtime period that solved nothing and meant, that for first time in their 2012-13 campaign, the IceCaps found themselves in a shootout, where Dekanich and Jaffray emerged as heroes.
O'Dell finished with two assists, the only player in the game with more than one point ... Along with an 8-7 win over the Portland Pirates earlier this fall, Friday's result marks the only time this season that the IceCaps have been credited with four or more goals (thanks to E. Sullivan for the heads up)... Albany was 2-for-5 on the power play, while St. John's was zero-for-3, with all the IceCaps' man-advantage chances coming in the second period ...The Devils were to have arrived in St. John's Thursday, but because of travel issues beginning in Newark, from where they were scheduled to fly commercially, New Jersey's farm team didn't get here until Friday afternoon and only after a charter flight had been arranged. ... IceCaps scratches Friday were D Travis Ramsey D, Julian Melchiori D, F Jason Gregoire, F Patrice Cormier, F Jason King, F Aaron Gagnon and F Hunter Tremblay, with the latter four all injured ... With the IceCaps having been on the road in the week prior to, and on, Remembrance Day, the home team took the opportunity to honour past and present members of the Canadian Armed Forces with Military Appreciation night, which saw the IceCaps players wearing special camouflage-style jerseys. Six jerseys are being raffled off during this homestand, with winners announced Nov. 25 ... Many members of the Canadian Armed Forces were in attendance as guests of the IceCaps Friday, with a number of them, including Brigadier General Anthony Stack and Commander Larry Trim, the Commanding Officer of Canadian Forces Station St. John's, joining team president Danny Williams for the ceremonial puck drop... Friday's Coors Light three stars: 1. Jason Jaffray SJs, 2. Ray Sawada, SJs 3. Jay Leach, Alb. ... Brian Rogers' choice as the Mary Browns hardest-working IceCap: Kevin Clark ...
Video highlights of Friday's game: