Samson’ scores tying goal and game-winner to cap come-from-behind victory
For 40 minutes Wednesday night, the St. John’s IceCaps made for some prime bait for a team full of Sharks, anxious to snap a three-game losing streak.
But a strange thing happened at Mile One Centre last evening. Between the follies of shorthanded goals — yes, St. John’s gave up another, this one two minutes in — and power play markers, the IceCaps, as a former crusty ol’ editor was fond of repeating, snapped victory from the jaws of defeat.
© — Photo by Rhonda Hayward/The Telegram
The St. John’s IceCaps defenceman Will O’Neill is pressured by the Worcester Sharks’ James Livingstone and Bracken Kearns (16) as he plays the puck in the defensive zone during Wednesday’s American Hockey League meeting at Mile One Centre. Jerome Samson scored his second of the game in overtime to give the IceCaps a 3-2 comeback win in the first of three straight game between the teams in St. John’s this week. They meet again Friday and Saturday, with both contests getting underway at 7:30 p.m.
Jerome Samson’s second goal of the game, 26 seconds into overtime after he sent the game to the extra session, gave the IceCaps the most unlikely win, a 3-2 decision over the Worcester Sharks in the first of a three-game American Hockey League series.
The teams play again 7:30 Friday night, with Game 3 set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Certainly, the IceCaps were beside themselves to come away with two points and climb to 7-7-1-0. And the 6,287 strong in the Mile One seats were positively giddy with the outcome, but the effort, at least through the first two periods when St. John’s trailed 2-0, was not there.
Not even close.
“We didn’t quite play the way we wanted to, but we came up with the two points so I think it was a good ending,” Samson said.
No doubt, Samson had reason to feel good. The 26-year-old veteran from the Montreal suburbs gave spark to the IceCaps and Mile One — check that: Samson fired up an acetylene torch — with the tying goal at 18:15 of the third period, beating Sharks goalie Troy Grosenick on a shorthanded wraparound.
That was after Andrew Gordon scored his first goal at home 5:32 into the third period, on a five-on-three advantage, making it a one-goal game.
So all that, and Samson’s clincher in OT on a play with Gordon and Kris Fredheim, well, that’s the good news.
The bad news? The IceCaps seemingly sleepwalked their way through the first couple of periods, started by yet another shorthanded goal.
At the 2:03 mark, Eric O’Dell made an ill-advised pass to defenceman Will O’Neill, basically leaving his teammate hanging out to dry.
O’Neill was unable to corral the puck, and Rylan Schwartz was off to the races, beating Eddie Pasquale for his first of the year.
Last Saturday night, the IceCaps dropped a 3-2 game to the Manchester Monarchs after St. John’s allowed a shorthanded breakaway goal with 14 seconds left in regulation.
The Sharks made it 2-0 in the second period when Daniil Tarasov finally solved Pasquale on the third straight shot on the power play after the IceCaps goalie made two beauty pad saves on the first two attempts.
Pasquale ran out of luck on the third, and one could understand if the goalie wanted a search party put out on his defence.
“I didn’t like the way we played the first two periods,” said coach Keith McCambridge. “I thought we were late everywhere, and that happens when you’re not skating enough.”
But a win is a win, and the victory column doesn’t ask for descriptions.
But two shorthanded goals in two games?
“It is concerning,” McCambridge admitted. “It is something we have discussed. The players are very aware of the chances we’ve given up.
“But you also have to realize the power plays have to be creative, and those five players on the ice are there for a reason, because they’re offensively creative and they compliment each other.
“So there’s a give and take there. Right now, though, there’s too much take for me right now.”
Pasquale, who kept the IceCaps in the game with several big saves in the second period, made 23 stops for his seventh win. Grosenick turned aside 27 shots, and fell to 2-2 on the year.