Will O’Neill and Josh Lunden scored their first goals of the playoffs — both on the power play — and the St. John’s IcCaps edged the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 2-1 Wednesday night in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., to move within one win of a berth in the American Hockey League Calder Cup final.
The IceCaps lead the best-of-seven AHL Eastern Conference final against the Penguins 3-1, with Game 5 set for Saturday night in the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre.
Lunden, the first star on the night, scored the game-winner on a wraparaound at 9:19 of the third period, two-and-a-half minutes after the Penguins’s Brian Dumoulin had tied the scored at 1-1.
O’Neill opened the scoring in the last minute of the second period. His goal came on a one-timer at 19:33 on a 5-on-3 advantage, resulting from the Penguins’ Jayson Megna beings sent off for hooking at 17:46 and Zach Sill getting tagged with a high-sticking double minor 67 seconds later when his errant stick caught the IceCaps' Andrew Gordon in the face and cut him.
Overall shots on goal were 31-18 in favour of the IceCaps. That included a 19-2 advantage in the middle frame, when Wilkes-Barre took five of the six penalties - including the Sill double minor - called in the period.
St. John’s finished the night with nine power plays, while the Penguins had six. Overall, Wilkes-Barre is 0-for-20 on the PP in the series.
Peter Mannino, who got the hook after giving up five goals on 25 shots in two periods in Game 3, was back in goal for the Penguins and earned second-star honours. At the other end, the IceCaps’ Michael Hutchinson wasn’t nearly as busy, but still was named the Molson Canadian third star as he picked up his 10th win in 14 playoff starts.
Josh Morrissey, the rookie sensation on the St. John's defence, was a late scratch after taking the warm-up skate and was replaced by Kris Fredheim. Following the game, IceCaps head coach Keith McCambridge told The Telegram's Robin Short that Morrissey was dealing with a minor injury, but didn't offer details as to what area was affected or how the injury happened. The 19-year-old rearguard had dressed for all 13 of the IceCaps’ playoff games prior to Thursday, scoring two goals and five assists while registering a plus-five rating and taking a regular turn on the power play … There were no changes on the IceCaps’ forward lines, meaning Jerome Samson, St. John’s second-leading goal-scorer in the regular season, sat for a third straight contest. Samson had been a healthy scratch for the IceCaps’ 2-1 win in Game 2 Sunday at Mile One Centre in St. John’s, but was suffering from food poisoning and unavailable for St. John’s 5-0 shutout win Wednesday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena. IceCaps’ play-by-play broadcaster Brian Rogers is reporting Samson was still ailing Thursday … There were some tweaks to the Penguins’ lineup Thursday, but Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Ebbett, Nick Drazenovic and Dominik Uher, regular forwards who did not play Game 3 because of injury, were all sidelined once again … IceCaps leading playoff scorer Andrew Gordon departed for his team’s dressing room after apparently being injured on a third-period play that resulted in him receiving an elbowing minor. He later returned to the bench, but didn’t see any more ice time, except for a few brief twirls during breaks in the action … Rogers’ choice as the Mary Brown’s hardest-working IceCap: Kyle MacKinnon … The AHL Western Conference final also continued Thursday, with the Toronto Marlies beating the Texas Stars 4-1 at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto to tie that series at two games apiece ...