IceCaps edge Phantoms in thrilling home opener

ST. JOHN’S, Newfoundland and Labrador – Ben Maxwell does not often attract attention with his play, but on Friday versus the Adirondack Phantoms the St. John’s IceCaps forward showed just how valuable an under-the-radar performer can be.
 
Maxwell assisted on the winning goal and then helped shut the Phantoms down in the dying minutes to lead St. John’s to a 2-1 victory over Adirondack in the IceCaps 2012-13 home opener.
 

Maxwell was a key contributor in both ends of the rink on Friday. Photo by Jeff Cull of Pro Hockey News

Maxwell was a key contributor in both ends of the rink on Friday. Photo by Jeff Cull of Pro Hockey News


Maxwell was at his best in the game’s final two minutes when the IceCaps were shorthanded and the Phantoms pulled their net minder to take a six-on-four advantage. Maxwell killed almost the entire two-minute penalty, clearing the IceCaps zone on more than one occasion before adding a key blocked shot for good measure.
 
His efforts certainly caught the attention of IceCaps head coach Keith McCambridge.
 
“Maxy is a really reliable player. Sometimes he goes unnoticed, but as a coaching staff you can see his intelligence on the ice. He knows where he needs to be,” said McCambridge. “In key moments, he thrives on being in high pressure situations.”
 
Maxwell helped give the IceCaps a late third-period lead when he set up the game-winning goal by St. John’s defenseman Travis Ramsey. Maxwell picked up the puck near the top of the faceoff circle, danced around a trio of Adirondack defenders and then hit a streaking Ramsey with a tape-to-tape pass that the big d-man couldn’t help but fire into the Phantom’s net.
 
“It was a great pass and I just tried to hit the net and hope for the best,” Ramsey said.
 
The fact that it was Ramsey scoring the winning goal was a bit of a surprise to most in attendance on Friday, since he is primarily considered a steady, stay-at-home defender. Ramsey readily admits it is not often he finds himself in front of the opposition’s net and said he was as surprised as anyone that he ended up scoring the game winner.  
 
“The closer I get to the net, the foggier my brain gets, so I like stay far away,” Ramsay said with a laugh after Friday’s game. “I just saw an opening and we had a guy back to protect me if the puck didn’t get through. It was a nice pass and I just had to find an open spot.”
 
The IceCaps opened the scoring in Friday’s contest when Maxime Macenauer tipped a Zach Redmond point shot past Phantoms goalie Scott Munroe at 11:31 of the first period. Adirondack tied the game at 12:25 of the second period when Andrew Johnston redirected a shot by Eric Wellwood behind IceCaps goaltender Eddie Pasquale.
 
Maxwell set up Ramsey’s game-winner at 9:11 of the third period, with Jason King also earning an assist on the goal.
 
Pasquale made 32 saves to earn the win in net for St. John’s, while Munroe stopped 24 shots in a losing effort for the Phantoms.
 
Notes: The IceCaps were again without team captain Jason Jaffray and 2011-12 team MVP Paul Postma. Both players are injured but are close to returning to the lineup … The attendance at Friday’s game was 6,287, a capacity crowd at Mile One Centre … Prior to the star of the game, the IceCaps unveiled a banner commemorating their 2011-12 AHL Atlantic Division championship.
 
Contact Darcy.MacRae@prohockeynews.com
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