Coming off a 4-2 defeat in Syracuse Wednesday night, the St. John’s IceCaps were on the hunt for two big points in their push for the final North Division playoff spot.
Opposing them were the basement-dwelling Rochester Americans, who looked to play the role of spoiler. The IceCaps were without the services of top defender Zach Redmond and utility forward Markus Eisenschmid, while Anthony Camara and David Broll were healthy scratches. Charlie Lindgren started in net for St. John’s looking to repeat last week’s flawless performance, while squaring off once more with Linus Ullmark.
From the outset of the game many of the issues that plagued the IceCaps in Syracuse were present again. Passes weren’t connecting and the breakouts seemed disjointed,
Rochester struck early on a harmless dump in. Cole Schneider sped into the zone and fired a shot off Lindgren, collected his rebound, and fed a wide open Alexander Nylander who put home his ninth goal of the year.
St. John’s would have plenty of chances around Ullmark’s net on loose pucks, but the Amerks’ netminder held the fort against a strong IceCaps pushback.
While the top line continued to slump, Daniel Carr and Jacob de la Rose turned in a strong period on the second line once again, but couldn’t solve the Amerks goalie in first.
The IceCaps’ offence didn’t stay quiet for long, exploding for three goals in the second period. Jacob de la Rose was the first to put one past Linus Ullmark. After a Bobby Farnham shot trickled through, the Swede crashed the net and deposited his eighth goal of the year.
Kyle Bonis snuck a puck past Charlie Lindgren just past the midway point of the period, but the IceCaps came roaring back once more. With Charles Hudon just stepping out of the penalty box, Max Friberg took off down ice and battled through the Rochester defence before roofing a shot to tie the game.
Late in the second period, Farnham scooped up a loose puck behind the net, and with a diving effort banked the puck in off Ullmark to give his side the lead.
Even with the lead in hand, the IceCaps put the pressure on the Americans, while also stifling any offensive chances against. They allowed just four shots in the final period, which included another penalty kill, and an extended 6 on 5 with the net empty.
Despite a big two-point victory, the IceCaps still trail Utica for the final playoff spot, based on points percentage. The team now travels to Syracuse to face the division-leading Crunch for the second time this week to end their road trip. Another strong effort for a victory would be a big boost as St. John’s scrabbles for a post-season berth.
1. Bobby Farnham (1G 1A)
2. Max Friberg (1G 1A)
3. Alex Nylander (1G)