Mouillierat eyeing a bigger goal

Robin
Robin Short
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It wasn't highlight reel material like Brian Gibbons's beauty for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in their final game against the Providence Bruins in the last series, but Kael Mouillierat's tally against the Pens Wednesday night was a dandy just the same.
More importantly, it might have helped Mouillierat snap out of a scoring slump in which the St. John's IceCaps left-winger had been mired.

Kael Mouillierat

Mouillierat's goal, a power play tally as the IceCaps enjoyed a five-on-three man advantage, staked St. John's to a 4-0 lead in its eventual 5-0 Game 3 win over the Pens and a 2-1 American Hockey League Eastern Conference final series lead heading into last night's fourth game.

Mouillierat was off to the side of Penguins netminder Peter Mannino by about 10 feet, and one-timed a shot off a pass from Andrew Gordon into the top of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton net.

It was, simply put, a goalscorer's goal.

"In all honesty, it doesn't really matter how you get them," said the quiet 26-year-old Edmonton native. "I mean, sure, everyone likes the nice goals a little better, the coast to coast ones are a little prettier to watch, but in the end all that matters is it's one for your team and in the playoffs, certainly every goal is an important one.

"When you get a chance to contribute - and I'm a guy who is counted on to produce - it feels good to get 'em. Like I said, it was definitely a relief to get one. It was a monkey off my back."

Mouillierat had 20 goals and 53 points in only 53 games this season, in which he was sidelined to injury for 14 games near the end of the season.

For much of the year, he was leading the IceCaps in scoring.

But it's a different story in the playoffs. Granted, he has six points in 13 post season games, but one of those goals came after the league reviewed tape from Game 6 of the IceCaps-Norfolk Admirals series. The first came in Game 3 of the IceCaps' first-round series with the Albany Devils, a 1-0 St. John's win.

"I think I'm playing alright, but the numbers probably aren't where I'd want them to be," he acknowledged. "But at this time of year, all that really matters is the team wins and that's the way everyone feels in the locker room.

"We really don't care who gets the goals or the points, but rather it's more about the wins. And we must be doing something right because we're in the Eastern Conference final."

Undrafted after four years at little-known Minnesota State University (Mankato), Mouillierat began his pro career in the ECHL where he had almost immediate success.

He had 23 points in 16 games for the Idaho Steelheads last season when the IceCaps - who had watched him playing for the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers for much of the 2011-12 campaign - signed him to a professional tryout.

He turned out to be quite the find for St. John's, picking up 42 points in 50 games.

He continued that strong play into this season until the injury bug bit. There was a fear early on when Mouillierat was injured that he would be done for the season. Followup checkups indicated the injury was not as bad as initially believed, and he was able to return for the final four games of the regular season, when he had a pair of one-goal, one-assist outings.

"Maybe the time off might have hurt my feel for the puck a little bit, but I don't want to use it as an excuse," he said. "No doubt it definitely set me back at the time, but I've been back long enough now that it's not an issue for me."

 

Organizations: IceCaps, American Hockey League, Minnesota State University Mankato

Geographic location: St. John's, Wilkes-Barre, Edmonton

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