After a quick turnaround from Saturday night’s throttling of the Connecticut Whale, the St. John’s IceCaps took to the ice at Mile One this afternoon for their first early start on home ice this season.
The Caps started off rather sluggish in the first period and remained trapped in their own zone for much of it.
Going into this afternoon’s game I expected the absence of Artus Kulda to have a big impact, however both Travis Ramsey and Zach Redmon logged some serious ice-time and played great games. Both players made their minutes count and played an impressive physical game.
After doing some running around in their own zone, the puck found John Mitchell in the slot who made no mistake and buried it. Mitchell picked up right where he left off last night, putting up his 3rd goal in 2 games.
The Whale followed Mitchell’s goal with a goal by Tommy gran,t making it a 2-0 game.It looked like they were getting ready to run away with the game until Stu Bickel went off on a tripping call. The ensuing powerplay for the IceCaps resulted in a goal from an unlikely source; Bushee posted his first goal of the season getting the IceCaps within one.
After the Bushee goal the IceCaps looked like they got their legs back from last night, but on the next shift Whale forward Carl Hagelin put the puck in the net in a rather unconventional way. Hagelin, who had been going to the net hard all weekend, was rewarded with a goal that he deflected in off his face, paying the ultimate price for that insurance marker. And just like that it was a 3-1 game again.
Shortly after the Hagelin goal, the Whale broke what I always believe is the cardinal rule when it comes to fighting in hockey, and mixed it up with a two goal lead. Bickel stirred things wwith IceCaps defensemen Travis Ramsey after going to Mannino hard. Ramsey said he’ll basically have none of that and they had an exchange. Even though Ramsey got the worst of the altercation, the IceCaps came out flying that next shift and not long after were rewarded a late period goal from the stick of vet Jason King. King’s 6th goal of the season came off of a feed from Rosa with just 50 seconds left of the first period
The IceCaps started the 2nd period a much more focused group and had to rely on the penalty kill early on as Travis Ramsey went off for tripping. As inconsistent as the IceCaps PP has been at times, the PK totally owns up for it and did a great job killing that one off. Quickly after the PK ended, IceCaps’ forward Jason King potted his 7th of the season and 2nd of the game, tying the gam. After the King goal the IceCaps had a few chances on the PP but couldn’t get the go ahead goal out of it. The Whale PK not only did a great job, they also exposed one of the weaknesses in the IceCaps’ powerplay, picking off a few D-to-D passes and skating it in for a solid chance, none of which resulted in a goal thankfully.
In the 3rd period IceCaps relied heavily on goaltender Peter Mannino. Making his first start since returning to St John’s after a brief call up to the Winnipeg Jets, Mannino was under fire for much of the game, but did a great job keeping them in it when the Whale put up scoring chance after scoring chance. Just when fans were eyeing the clock and thinking overtime, Garth Murray found Eric O’Dell for his 2nd of the season giving the IceCaps their first lead in the game with just 3 minutes remaining on the clock.
The Whale had one last chance on the PP to end the game as Zach Redmon, who played a great physical game this afternoon, found himself in the sin bin for cross checking. The Whale PP got a few chances on IceCaps netminder Mannino, and went hard to the net the whole time, but were denied. With a handful of seconds left Mannino made an innocent enough play tying up a player but refs ruled it interference. With only 4 seconds left on the clock, the Whale attempt hardly seems worth mentioning, and the IceCaps closed out the weekend out picking up wins in both games.
One interesting thing I picked up on tonight’s game was the ability that the Whale team had putting shots on net, and by my count it is the first game the IceCaps have been outshot on home ice. The final countcame in at 38 shots for the Whale and 27 for the IceCaps, but goaltender Mannino did a great job keeping his team in it just long enough for those late 3rd period heroics.
Another thing worth noting is that even though there was a noticeable increase in empty seats, this marked the eigth consecutive sell out of the season for the IceCaps. Great to see.
The IceCaps have a lengthy break before facing the Norfolk Admirals on Friday and it’s yet to be seen if some of the current call ups with the Jets will be returned by then.
As always you can catch the game online at theahl.com or at the St John’s Icecaps official site.
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