After disappointing back-to-back loses against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Tuesday and Wednesday, the St. John’s IceCaps needed a win to keep their playoff spot. And that’s exactly what they got on Saturday night.
The IceCaps were first on the board when Julien Brouillette opened the scoring for St. John’s less than five minutes into the game.
The rest of the period, however, was a nightmare for the IceCaps. Charlie Lindgren allowed three goals on the first seven shots he faced. The goals, scored by Tyler Lewington, Travis Boyd, and Chris Bourque, sent the Bears in to intermission with a healthy lead.
Many expected Sylvain Lefebrve to pull Lindgren in favour of Yann Danis, but the coach stuck with his number one. And it paid off.
The IceCaps tied it up in the second, with goals from Jeremy Gregoire and Yannick Veilleux.
Jeremy Gregoire gets the comeback going with his ninth of the year after some good work by Ryan Johnston and Stefan Matteau pic.twitter.com/xsvhGOS84V— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) March 26, 2017
Yannick Veilleux ties the game with his sixth of the year, Max Friberg with a great setup too. pic.twitter.com/SXq0EBUtlh— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) March 26, 2017
Heading into the third, the game looked like it could go either way. After giving up two late goals mid-week, the IceCaps were determined to not let it happen again.
Just when it looked like they were heading into overtime, Keegan Lowe fired home a slapshot with 16 seconds left on the clock, putting the IceCaps ahead 5-4 and sealing the victory.
To cap off the comeback win, Keegan Lowe scores on a bomb of a shot with just sixteen seconds left in regulation. pic.twitter.com/qzGzr9qmPt— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) March 26, 2017
At the final buzzer, Lindgren skated to the blueline with his hands in the air, clearly showing his excitement with the result. The boys were fired up, and the win moved them into third place in the North Division.
HER: Phoenix Copley (L) 27/31
STJ: Charlie Lindgren (W) 26/29
- Jacob de la Rose |STJ| 1A
- Charlie Lindgren |STJ| 26 SVS
- Keegan Lowe |STJ| GWG
The Sunday matinee between the Bears and IceCaps had a different result.
Charles Hudon and Chris Terry both had early chances to put the home team ahead, but they were unable to beat goaltender Phoenix Copley.
Then, after a bad d-zone turnover by Ryan Johnston, Jakub Vrana and Travis Boyd combined to set up Riley Barber, giving Hershey the lead midway through the first.
The score was at a standstill until early in the third period when Vrana was the beneficiary of a great pass by Barber. The young Czech beat Lindgren to extend Hersey’s lead to 2-0.
Trailing by two, the IceCaps frantically searched for a goal. With just over five minutes remaining, they finally got one from Terry, their leading goal-scorer. The goal, Terry’s 25th of the season, came on the powerplay, with assists going to Hudon and Joel Hanley.
St. John’s continued to press for an equalizer. They fired 17 shots on net in the third period alone, but Copley was up for the challenge. He held off the IceCaps, giving his team a much needed win to keep them in the fourth and final playoff spot in the Atlantic.
HER: Phoenix Copley (W) 35/36
STJ: Charlie Lindgren (L) 26/28
- Jakub Vrana |HER| 1G 1A
- Riley Barber |HER| 1G 1A
- Chris Terry |STJ| 1G
After the series with the Bears, the IceCaps are 32-25-10 on the season, with a points percentage of .552, which currently puts them in third spot in the North. Albany, who sit fourth, have a points percentage on .545, and have the same amount of remaining games (9) as the IceCaps.
The IceCaps continue their hunt for playoff hockey next Friday and Saturday, when they host the last place Binghamton Senators at Mile One Centre.