Inconsistency has plagued the St. John’s IceCaps throughout the year. The team has put in a full 60 minute effort very few times this season. Tuesday nights game epitomized this phenomenon. The IceCaps were strong through the first 40 minutes, but collapsed in the final frame.
Mark MacMillan opened the scoring, slotting his sixth of the season past Anthony Stolarz.
21 seconds later the fourth line struck again. Jeremy Gregoire’s centering pass bounced off the skate off Phantoms defenceman Mark Alt, and found the back of the net. St. John’s held a 2-0 lead heading into the second period.
In the second the IceCaps extended their lead. Jacob de la Rose burst through the neural zone, and made a great play by separating the puck from the Phantoms defenceman. He then squeaked a shot through Stolarz for a shorthanded marker, his 10th goal of the season.
Look at the wheels on Jacob de la Rose, who scores his 10th of the year shorthanded pic.twitter.com/15wMaVc5n3— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) March 21, 2017
Midway through the period, Daniel Audette made it a 4-0 game. The rookie snapped a shot from the high slot that beat Stolarz top-shelf. It was Audette’s first goal in 29 games.
From there, it was all downhill for St. John’s.
With 19 minutes gone in the second, Lehigh Valley pulled one back. Cole Bardreau’s ninth of the year kicked off the comeback.
The third period was a nightmare.
The Phantoms scored three goals to level things at 4-4. Maxim Lamarche, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, and T.J. Brennan had the goals, all of which came from shots from the point.
It went from bad to worse for the IceCaps. Chris Terry was called for interference with under a minute remaining in regulation, giving the Phantoms a 4-on-3 to start overtime.
In the extra frame, Brennan, who played his junior hockey in St. John’s with the QMJHL’s Fog Devils, riffled a shot past Charlie Lindgren, completing the comeback, and giving the Phantoms a 5-4 win.
“The only positive thing is that we got a point” was the quote from IceCaps head coach, Sylvain Lefebrve after the game. I’m not one to bash the coaching staff, but to say taking a point from a game, in which you had a 4-0 lead, is a “positive” is a bit ridiculous. Especially in the thick of a late season playoff race. Simply put, the IceCaps needed to win the game, even more so when you consider they were up 4-0.
LV: Anthony Stolarz (W) 29/33
STJ: Charlie Lindgren (OTL) 33/38
- Max Friberg STJ | 2 A
- TJ Brennan LV | 2 G
- Andy Miele LV | 2 A
Luckily for the IceCaps, they’ll have little time to dwell on the nights performance. The team has a big opportunity to redeem itself on Wednesday night, in the rematch with the Phantoms.