Wilkes-Barre takes rematch 3-0 as back-to-back wins at home continue to elude St. John's
Twenty-four hours after a dominating shutout win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the St. John’s IceCaps were unable, once again, to cap off a home ice sweep, losing by shutout in a 3-0 count Saturday night.
Jeff Deslauriers stopped 30 shots, and Tom Kuhnhackl, Brian Gibbons and Bobby Farnham scored for the Pens, a team depleted by callups to parent Pittsburgh.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, hard-hit by call-ups to the parent club in Pittsburgh, arrived in St. John’s minus five of its top six scorers — Andrew Ebbett, Harry Zolnierczyk, Chris Conner, Simon Despres and Jayson Megna. Toss in Zach Sill and the Pens were missing six regulars.
Saturday’s result came after a 5-0 St. John’s win Friday, a game in which Carl Klingberg scored twice and Eddie Pasquale posted his first shutout on the year.
But it was much the same thing we’ve seen dating back to last season in the second game, as St. John’s failed to earn the sweep.
The last time the IceCaps dusted off a visiting team in two straight games came last April 9-10 when the Portland Pirates fell victim to St. John’s.
After a slow first period which nearly lulled to sleep the 6,287 on hand at Mile One Centre, one which saw the shot clock register 4-2 after 20 minutes in favour of St. John’s, Kuhnhackl finally got the Penguins on the scoreboard, banging home a rebound while Wilkes-Barre/Scranton enjoyed a power play.
It was only the Pens’ fifth shot on goal.
Gibbons scored what would turn out to be an insurance marker just over seven minutes later, finishing off a three-on-one play by converting a Farnham feed past Eddie Pasquale.
Farnham put the nail in the IceCaps’ coffin, scoring only 21 seconds into the third period, negating any hopes of St. John’s coming out with a push to open the final 20 minutes of regulation time.
The IceCaps now get ready for the Syracuse Crunch, who come to town Tuesday and Wednesday. They will be the last home games of 2013 for St. John's.