The IceCaps had a little confidence boost after they swept the two-game series against the Utica Comets on November 1 and 2, taking home 4-3 and 6-3 victories, respectively.
They brought that confidence with them when they hit the ice to face their rivals, the Toronto Marlies, during the first game of the weekend series on Saturday night.
The IceCaps came out hard, hitting the Marlies’ goal post just 15 seconds into the opening period. The IceCaps kept the pressure on and it looked like a sure goal for Charles Hudon after he did a little deke on Antoine Bibeau, but William Wrenn dove in front of the puck and blocked the shot.
Sven Andrighetto, who looked like he was everywhere all the time, had a good chance early on, and shortly thereafter, made a nice little drop pass to Chris Terry, but Terry wasn’t quick enough to accept it.
After being robbed of a goal at the start of the period, Hudon opened the scoring with his eighth of the season at 13:55. Daniel Audette and Nikita Scherbak picked up the helpers, stretching Scherbak’s point streak to six games.
Charles "Marlies Killer" Hudon scores with a beautiful breakaway move. pic.twitter.com/EvCrcpPtZE— Mitch Brown (@MitchLBrown) November 5, 2016
Charlie Lindgren had to make two big saves to keep the lead just seconds after Hudon’s goal, but couldn’t keep Kasperi Kapanen from slipping one in two minutes later to tie it up. The play was reviewed but the call on the ice stood, ending the first period with a 1-1 tie.
There was a little playful pushing and shoving after the first period buzzer sounded that looked like it might be a previee of things to come in the second period, but order was restored and the game continued on a showcase of skill.
The IceCaps had three power plays during the second period but were unable to capitalize on any of them. Stefan Matteau had one close call when he ended up in front of the Marlies net all alone, but couldn’t slip one though.
Josh Leivo took an undisciplined double-minor just 1:23 into the final period, and the extra space allowed Michael McCarron to swoop in and finally get the monkey off his back. He scored his first goal of the season — which served as the game-winner — seven seconds into the man advantage.
After buzzing around the ice all evening, Andrighetto added one for good measure 21 seconds after McCarron’s goal.
Matteau tossed one in the empty net to give the IceCaps a 4-1 victory.
The IceCaps were outshot 16-7 in the third period, but it was Lindgren who kept them in the game, his undefeated status intact. The rookie goaltender was named first star of the night, and he’s really starting to make a name for himself.
Sounds a little familiar....
On Sunday, Lindgren was back between the pipes for a fifth start in a row, getting the back-to-back games versus one of the top teams in the league
Matteau picked up right where he left off. After he solidified Saturday night’s game with his third empty-netter of the season, he was the first one to get on the scoreboard on Sunday with an unassisted goal at 5:09 into the first, finally getting his first non-empty-netter of the season.
Midway through the first, just like the previous night, Kapanen tied it up once again.
Undisciplined play caused the IceCaps to take costly back-to-back penalties with two minutes left in the first. The Marlies took full advantage, grabbing a two-goal lead from the situation.
During the opening minutes of the middle frame, the Marlies came out with their best pressure of the series, forcing the IceCaps into their zone and keeping them there.
The IceCaps didn’t hold possession of the puck in the Marlies zone for four minutes and fifteen seconds. The visitors dominated the majority of the period, striking iron twice and preventing the IceCaps from getting many quality shots.
During the extremely frustrating period, Terry managed to break through during a man advantage, notching his fifth goal of the season to make it a one-goal contest.
It was the Marlies’ turn to become a little undisciplined towards the end of the second. After another beautiful save by Lindgren, the Marlies kept trying to bang the puck in, causing a scrum to break out behind the net.
Another game, another incredible save by Charlie Lindgren. pic.twitter.com/DDAe6686zd— Mitch Brown (@MitchLBrown) November 6, 2016
After the penalties were sorted, it was five-on-three for the IceCaps. They battled hard, but just couldn’t make the comeback, falling 3-2 to the Marlies.
It was the IceCaps sixth loss of the season, but it was Lindgren’s first in his pro career. After five straight starts and now sporting a 6-1-0-0 record, he probably won’t lose much sleep over the loss.
Record: 6-5-1-0, fourth in the North Division.
The IceCaps will have the next four days to prepare for another six-game road trip, beginning with the Springfield Thunderbirds on Friday, November 11.