ST. JOHN’S, Newfoundland and Labrador – The St. John’s IceCaps gave one of the AHL’s top teams a run for its money on Friday night, but in the end came out on the wrong side of a 3-2 overtime loss to the Toronto Marlies.
Toronto entered the game tied for the second best record in the AHL and looked poised to run all over the IceCaps, who sit in 14th place in the Eastern Conference. However, a resilient effort by St. John’s in the final 30 minutes of regulation forced overtime and gave the home team one point for its labors.
The IceCaps were pleased with their effort in the contest, but couldn’t hide their disappointment in coming up just short.
“It’s obviously frustrating to battle the whole game, fight to get it to overtime and then get scored on. It’s pretty tough any time you work that hard and don’t get the two points,” said St. John’s defenseman Ben Chiarot.
The IceCaps opened the scoring on Friday, but then watched as the Marlies took control of the game for the rest of the first period. Toronto outshot St. John’s 14-7 in the opening frame and held the puck in the IceCaps zone for almost the entire opening 20 minutes.
St. John’s did not begin to take the play back to the Marlies until after the mid-way point of the second period and continued its resurgence throughout the third and into overtime before Toronto shut the lights out with a goal from Greg Scott.
“Our start was okay, but we got into penalty trouble in the second period and were chasing the game a bit. We got better as the game went on and our third period was our best,” said IceCaps head coach Keith McCambridge. “To battle back and keep it 2-2 but to lose in overtime was definitely frustrating. Toronto is a really good team with strong goaltending, but we didn’t test him enough.”
Kael Mouillierat put the IceCaps up 1-0 at 3:43 of the first period, tapping a pass from Eric O’Dell past Marlies goalie Drew MacIntyre. Toronto then took control of the play and used a power play goal from Ryan Lasch to knot things at one at 9:33 of the opening period.
The Marlies went up 2-1 with a Jesse Blacker goal at 5:24 of the second. The IceCaps responded when O’Dell redirected a Mouillierat shot past MacIntyre at 12:50 of the middle frame.
After a scoreless third period the game went to overtime, during which Scott carried the puck into the slot untouched by three IceCaps defenders and wired a wrist shot over the glove of St. John’s goalie Mark Dekanich.
MacIntyre made 23 saves in picking up the win for Toronto, while Dekanich stopped 40 shots in a losing effort for St. John’s. McCambridge praised the play of Dekanich after the game, crediting the veteran goalie for keeping the score close when the IceCaps were struggling.
“To get the goaltending we need to keep ourselves in the game when we weren’t at 100 percent was obviously a strong point in tonight’s game,” said McCambridge. “Dekanich has been building off his game, you can see his confidence growing and his game getting back to where he knows and we know it can be. He kept us in the game when Toronto put a whole plethora of shots to the net with traffic in front.”
The Marlies and IceCaps meet again tonight in St. John’s at 7:30 p.m. local time.
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