© — Photo by The Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
The St. John’s IceCaps’ Carl Klingberg (right) has the puck knocked off his stick by the Portland Pirates’ Mathieu Brodeur during the teams’ American Hockey League game Saturday night at Mile One Centre. The IceCaps closed out a seven-game homestand with a 3-2 win over the Pirates.
Newest puckstop collects first win at Mile One as St. John’s closes homestand with win over Portland
It was only six weeks ago that Tyler Beskorowany wasn’t sure if he’d be playing hockey again this season.
No, he had not been sidelined by injury, and he wasn’t released from his contract. Well, kind of not released.
Beskorowany was tending goal for the ECHL’s San Francisco Bulls, where he was playing fairly regularly and enjoying life in northern California. At the same time, he was trying to make his way back to the American Hockey League after two years in Austin, Tex., with the Texas Stars.
Then Beskorowany found himself out of work. In fact, the whole team lost their jobs when the Bulls folded Jan. 27 after a search for a new owner proved fruitless. The Bulls reportedly lost $2 million last season and were on their way to losing another pile of money this year.
It was no shock to Beskorowany and his teammates. The Bulls had already bounced a few cheques on the players.
San Francisco had five players under contract from the San Jose Sharks, and they were assigned to other clubs. The others on the rosters were deemed unrestricted free agents, free to sign with another team.
So Beskorowany waited around San Francisco for a while before deciding to head back to Ottawa, a U-Haul trailer in tow.
“There was word Winnipeg might be interested,” Beskorowany said. “I got to Ottawa, waited there for couple days and found out they (the Jets) didn’t need me.
“I had no offers in my back pocket. I didn’t know what was going on. I talked to a few teams, but there was nothing concrete.”
Until the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL reached out. So Beskorowany packed up the car and headed south, arriving in Florida Thursday night.
On Friday morning, he got the call from the Jets — fly to St. John’s.
Beskorowany landed in Newfoundland to back up Michael Hutchinson Feb. 8 and 9, Saturday and Sunday, against the Worcester Sharks.
Monday morning, it was back to Orlando for a pair of ECHL games Tuesday and Thursday. On Friday, he was told to meet the IceCaps that night in Providence, R.I.
That was a month ago. He’s been with the team ever since, and Saturday night Beskorowany became the latest IceCap to contribute to what’s becoming a pretty good hockey story around St. John’s, posting his first win on home ice as the IceCaps registered a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the Portland Pirates at Mile One Centre.
The victory followed a 7-4 Portland decision Friday night, snapping a nine-game IceCaps win streak.
Saturday, St. John’s scored twice in the third period to overcome a 2-1 deficit, with Josh Lunden, who missed the first half of the season to a concussion, picking a good time to net his first goal of the year for the winner.
Beskorowany, making his second AHL start this season — he beat the Pirates 6-5 late last month in Maine — turned in a solid, if not unspectacular, effort between the pipes with a 29-save performance.
Beskorowany was pressed into service when Michael Hutchinson was summoned to the parent Winnipeg Jets to replace an ailing Ondrej Pavelec.
“It’s been an, um, interesting year,” said the 23-year-old Sudbury, Ont., native, drafted 59th overall by the Dallas Stars in 2008. “It’s not something you want to go through.
“So this win is sweet … being back in the AHL and getting that win at home, especially given the circumstances we’re in right now with the guys being called up.”
Hutchinson wasn’t the only IceCap missing from the lineup. Patrice Cormier was recalled to Winnipeg earlier Saturday, joining John Albert and Eric O’Dell already with the Jets.
But the IceCaps didn’t seem to miss a beat early on, scoring the only goal of the first period when Andrew Gordon netted his team-leading 21st.
It appeared to be a carry-over from Friday night when, after a horrible first period, one which saw St. John’s trail Portland 4-0 at the intermission, the IceCaps rallied to make it a one-goal game only to give up a goal on a costly turnover in the third period by rookie defenceman Brenden Kichton. The Pirates added an empty-netter for good measure.
After Brandon Yip and Jordan Szwarz scored in the second period Saturday, Carl Klingberg scored 4:58 in the third to tie things up and set the stage for Lunden.
“We’ve all been around the American league long enough to know this is a part of what happens,” said coach Keith McCambridge. “You never know what your lineup is going to be. You can put it up in the morning, work on certain things in the morning (at practice) and then you get a call in the afternoon that takes some people out of that lineup.
“So I’m proud of the guys to be able to push forward. That team over there, regardless where they sit in the standings, is an excellent team,” he said of the Pirates.
“I was impressed with the way we pushed back in the third period.”
The IceCaps improved to 38-20-1-3, and remain fourth overall in the Eastern Conference, five points up on the Binghamton Senators. The Pirates are second-last in the league at 22-30-2-8.
The IceCaps’ win over Portland Saturday, said captain Jason Jaffray, without Hutchinson, St. John’s top two centres in Albert and O’Dell, and Cormier, who brings a physical element to the club, is credit to the depth on the roster.
“This is something that’s been happening all year,” Jaffray said. “A different guy steps up every night.
“And give credit to the depth of this hockey team, and the guys we bring in. Look at Jamie MacQueen tonight (playing his first game on a professional tryout contract). He played big minutes. Beskorowany, with one AHL game under his belt, made some big saves to keep us in the game.
“It just seems as we lose a guy, someone else steps in and takes advantage of the opportunity. And that’s all you can hope for. Josh Lunden definitely took advantage of it tonight. Tyler Beskorowany took advantage. So did Ryan Schnell, with a big hit at the end of the first period, and a big fight.
“It all contributes to winning hockey games.”
The three-game series with the Pirates, one which saw St. John’s win twice, ends a seven-game homestand for the IceCaps. They now prepare to hit the road for six games, beginning Friday night in Hartford, Conn.
Notes: The Michael Hutchinson callup meant the IceCaps signed Ryan Mior to an amateur tryout contract to backup Tyler Beskorowany. Mior, from St. John’s, was the MVP in the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League’s East Division this season toiling for the Mount Pearl H.J. Bartlett Electric Blades. He played five years in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with P.E.I. and Gatineau and appeared in seven games with the AHL’s Rochester Americans in 2009-10. Mior won a silver medal for Canada at the 2005 world under-18 championship, where his goaltending teammate was Carey Price … The IceCaps wore special green and white St. Patrick’s Day jerseys Friday and Saturday … The Mary Brown’s hardest working IceCap Saturday was Jordan Hill. The Molson Canadian three stars were 1. Kyle MacKinnon 2. Jordan Szwarz 3. Josh Lunden … It was an eventful night for The Telegram at Saturday’s game. Sports scribe Kenn Oliver won the 50-50 draw (word is he’s treating his sports department colleagues to dinner and drinks), and photographer Joe Gibbons took an errant puck to the face and required stitches. The puck’s okay ...