ST. JOHN’S, Newfoundland and Labrador – The St. John’s IceCaps gave a poor performance in front of their home-town fans on Wednesday night, playing without much fire in a dismal 4-0 loss to the Portland Pirates.
The IceCaps failed to generate many quality scoring chances and suffered several defensive breakdowns during a game that provided very few highlights. The lack of emotion in Wednesday’s contest was somewhat surprising given the energy the teams displayed one night earlier in an 8-7 overtime win by St. John’s.
“For a night that you’re on home ice here, you always have a sold-out crowd, to breathe no life into this crowd, with not being able to put a goal behind their goaltender, to not be able to build off having your captain back, is not what we would have expected out of a night like tonight,” IceCaps head coach Keith McCambridge told www.stjohnsicecaps.com after the game. “Overall, I wasn’t pleased with what I saw on the ice tonight.”
Alexandre Bolduc put Portland on the scoreboard at 12:16 of the first period, while Brett Hextall’s goal at 8:09 of the second frame put the visitors up 2-0. Bolduc scored his second of the night on a short-handed breakaway just 24 seconds into the third period to give Portland a stranglehold on the game. Chris Conner rounded out the scoring with the Pirates’ fourth goal of the night at 7:45 of the third.
Chad Johnson picked up the win and shutout in net for the Pirates with a 27-save performance. Eddie Pasquale suffered the loss in the IceCaps net after surrendering four goals on 19 shots.
The lone bright spot for St. John’s was the return of captain Jason Jaffray to the lineup. Jaffray had not played since last April when he suffered a career-threatening neck injury that required offseason surgery. He took a regular shift on Wednesday and appeared comfortable in his first hockey game in six months.
“In the first period I was just trying to get up to game speed … I thought the second and third were a lot better,” Jaffray told The St. John’s Telegram.
Notes: The IceCaps are playing without several lineup regulars, including forwards Carl Klingberg and Patrice Cormrier and defenseman Paul Postma. All three are officially listed as day-to-day, but no timetable on their return has been provided … The three stars on Wednesday were Bolduc, Johnson and Jaffray … The IceCaps next see action on Saturday night when the Norfolk Admirals visit Mile One Centre. The IceCaps and Admirals met in the AHL Eastern Conference final last season, however Norfolk was affiliated with the Tampa Lightning at that time, an affiliation that ended over the summer. The Admirals are now the AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks. As a result, no current member of the Norfolk roster was on the 2011-12 team that defeated St. John’s en route to a Calder Cup championship.
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