Shots on goal were 38-20 in favour of the St. John's IceCaps, but as folks who challenged the weather to attend Saturday's American Hockey League at Mile One Centre know all too well, that has had little bearing on the score of the IceCaps' game against the visiting Connecticut Whale.
The Whalewon 4-q, getting all the scoring they needed on their first two shots of the game — by Kelsey Tessier and Michael Haley. Veteran defenceman Mike Vernace, with a first-period power-play marker, and Christian Thomas, with an empty-netter, also scored for the Whale (21-21-6), the Hartford-based farm team of the New York Rangers
Carl Klingberg was credited with the lone goal for the IceCaps, who lost their third straight game at home. It came midway through the frame when Kael Mouelillierat's shot went off the Swedish forward and behind Whale goalie Cam Talbot.
It was the third straight loss — all at home for St. John's — which has been outscored 10-1 in the last 124 minutes of play at Mile One Centre, a period stretching back to the late stages of the third period of Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Worcester Sharks and including the Sharks' 4-0 win Wednesday.
The two teams, who will also hook up at Mile One 4 p.m. Sunday at Mile One, entered tonight's game in similar positions with regards to playoff position in the AHL's Eastern Conference.
Now 21-25-3, the IceCaps entered Saturday in 13th place in the conference, four points arrear of the Hershey Bears, who started the day as holders of eighth place and the final playoff position.
The Whale (20-21-6) the farm team of the New York Rangers, are now three points ahead of the IceCaps.
Notes: Both teams had three power-play chances .... Eddie Pasquale, who was making his 13th straight start in goal for St. John's, made 16 saves for St. John's. ... The Whale's Thomas, son of former NHler and longtime Toronto Maple Leaf Steve Thomas, also had assists on the goals of Tessier and Haley, his linemates ... Centre Aaron Gagnon, who had been out with a knee injury, has been officially activated on the IceCaps' roster, but will not play tonight ... Despite the wintery weather outside, by rough estimates Mile One was a little more than half full Saturday ... This afternoon's game will be the last of a six-game homestand for the IceCaps ...