THE CANADIAN PRESS
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — St. John’s IceCaps’ head coach Keith McCambridge made it clear he wasn’t pleased with his club’s performance on Saturday night.
Darcy Zajac scored two goals and Jeff Frazee stopped 42 shots as the Albany Devils defeated St. John’s 5-3 in American Hockey League action.
“It looked like we were playing with a tennis ball and they were playing with a hockey puck out there,” said McCambridge. “It’s not even close to good enough for me right now.”
Albany (4-5-4) also had goals from Jacob Josefson, Adam Larsson and Bobby Butler while Adam Henrique and Brandon Burlon chipped in with two assists apiece.
Ivan Telegin, Maxime Macenauer and Jason Gregoire scored for the IceCaps (7-8-0) as Mark Dekanich stopped 28-of-33 shots in a losing cause.
The Devils were all over St. John’s to start the game, outshooting the home team 16-8 in the first period, and they opened the scoring with two early goals.
Josefson tipped a point shot past Dekanich at 5:37 and Zajac made it 2-0 less than a minute later when he released a wrist shot into the top shelf at 6:20.
Ice Caps’ defenceman Dean Arsene said the team’s defensive breakdowns leading to Albany’s early goals have been “killing” his team all season.
“In our own zone we are just running around,” he said. “As soon as they get any bit of a cycle going, we’re chasing and we’re losing coverage. Next thing you know it’s in the back of the net.”
The IceCaps pulled the game within one when Telegin scored on a big rebound left by Frazee at 14:12.
Albany restored its two-goal lead when Larsson hammered a shot through traffic at 7:22 of the second period, while on the power play.
Macenauer replied back with a goal for the IceCaps at 9:30, just seconds after a power play finished.
Albany made it 4-2 after 40 minutes of play when Butler scored on a four-on-four breakaway at 12:57.
Zajac, on a wrap-around that found Dekanich far out of the crease, added his second goal of the night at 8:51 in the third period.
Gregoire scored on a one-timer at 13:35 to bring the contest back within two and the IceCaps gained strong momentum in the last five minutes of the game, even getting a six-on-three power play, but they could not capitalize.
McCambridge felt it was too late at that point in the game anyway.
“We needed that for the full game, from the start right to the finish,” he said. “The game was out of reach by then. By that point, trying to score six-on-three and you still can’t get it in the back of the net, that’s exactly the way the guys performed tonight.”
Gregoire, who has been in and out of the line-up this season, was happy he could chip in offensively, but disappointed the team could not win the game.
“It’s always bittersweet, but coming into the line-up I have to make some waves,” he said. “We’re struggling to score goals right now and we’ve just got to keep with it.”
Albany went 1-for-4 on the power play while St. John’s failed to score on eight chances with the man advantage.
The Devils’ victory wrapped up a two-game set with the Ice Caps as St. John’s downed Albany 4-3 in a shootout on Friday.