IceCaps lead Pirates 3-2 after two periods

Brendan McCarthy
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Good evening from Mile One Centre in St. John's, where the St. John's IceCaps lead the Portland Pirates 3-2 after two periods of the second game of a two-game American Hockey League series.

The IceCaps had a 2-0 lead at one point, on a first-period tally by Kael Mouillierat and Vinny Saponari's first pro goal, which came early in the middle frame. However, the Pirates got goals from Darian Dziurzinsky and Andy Miele, the latter on a four-on-three power play, to tie the game.

But St. John's captain Jason Jaffray restored the lead at 14:38 of the second, blasting a one-time shot past Chad Johnson after a great set-up by rookie defenceman Will O'Neill.

The IceCaps (30-34-6) beat the Pirates (38-27-5) by a 3-2 score Tuesday, putting a crimp in Portland's quest to secure a playoff spot in the AHL's Eastern Conference.

There's one lineup change for the IceCaps from Tuesday, with veteran winger Max Macenauer drawing back in, and rookie Matthew Kirzinger, who earned his first pro point Tuesday, sitting out.

Mark Dekanich, who made 30 saves on his way to earning first-star honours Tuesday, is back between the pipes for the IceCaps, who are 6-1-1 in their last eight games.

Chad Johnson, sent down from the parent Phoenix Coyotes earlier this week, is the Portland netminder and faced seven shots through 20 minutes.  Mark Visentiin played last night.

Also just down from Phoenix is defenceman David Rundblad and that is a factor in why Goulds native James Melindy isn't playing again tonight and is still looking for his first pro appearance.

With Rundblad playing tonight, Boris Vabalik is a healthy scratch for the Pirates, who are sixth in the Eastern Conference.

Shots on goal are 21-16 in favour of the Pirates.

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A first-period fight featured the IceCaps' Ray Sawada and the Pirates' Matt Clackson. That's Matt Clackson, the son of former NHL tough guy Kim Clackson, who played for Pittsburgh, Quebec and the old Winnpeg Jets of the WHA.

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Today was the AHL trade deadline and there were moves involving both the IceCaps and Pirates.

St. John's, somewhat surprisingly, given a playoff berth isn't realistic for the IceCaps, actually picked up a player, getting checking centre Mathieu Tousignant on loan from the Texas Stars. This season, Tousignant had a goal in 18 games with Dallas's farm team and four goals and 15 assists in 28 games with Idaho of the ECHL.

The Pirates are getting veteran forward Troy Bodie on loan from the Norfolk Admirals.

Neither Tousignant or Bodie have joined their new teams yet, but Finnish goalie Jussi (Juho) Olkinuora is in St. John's after signing an amateur try-out deal with the IceCaps.

Olkinuora, who spent the last two seasons at the University of Denver, has actually been signed to a two-way, two-year entry-level contract with the parent Winnipeg Jets, but that deal won't kick in until next season.

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Prior to Wednesday's games, the IceCaps' hosted a ceremony to add four names to the Media Wall of Fame at Mile One Centre. The quartet includes legendary hockey broadcaster Howie Meeker; the late Jack Tobin, who began calling local games on radio in the 1930s, the late Fred Jackson, the longtime Telegram sports editor; and the late Ted Patey, who hosted the Amateur Sports Hour on local cable TV.

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