Trying to secure their spot in the playoff race, the St. John’s IceCaps started their six-game road trip off on the right foot.
With three games in as many days against North Division rivals, the IceCaps first took on the last-place Rochester Americans on Friday night that ended in a 3-0 shutout victory.
Sitting in fourth in their division meant they were holding the final playoff spot heading into the weekend. There was little room for error as they faced the third-place Toronto Marlies.
Saturday, March 3
With much-needed points on the line, the IceCaps just couldn’t get ahead of the Marlies on Saturday night.
Trevor Moore opened the scoring halfway through the first period with a power-play goal, as Jeremy Grégoire sat in the box for roughing.
A great individual effort by Tony Cameranesi early in the second period put the Marlies up 2-0.
Seconds later, tempers flared as Bobby Farnham and Steve Olesky dropped the gloves.
Since people love fisticuffs, Farnham and Oleksy had a spirited bout. pic.twitter.com/phKPXiGb35— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) March 4, 2017
The Marlies quickly took advantage of the four-on-four, when Travis Dermott fired one past Charlie Lindgren for a healthy 3-0 lead.
It was newcomer Keegan Lowe who put a damper on the Marlies’ shutout dreams, when he scored the lone goal for the IceCaps 30 seconds later.
Despite the game being pretty even — shots-on-goal (STJ 27, TOR 21), penalty minutes (STJ 17, TOR 19), and neither team doing great on their power-play chances (STJ 0/6, TOR 1/5) — the IceCaps fell to the Marlies by a final score of 3-1.
- Trevor Moore (1G, 1A) - TOR
- Tony Cameranesi (1G) - TOR
- Antoine Bibeau (SA: 27, SV: 26) - TOR
Sunday, March 4
After Saturday’s loss, the IceCaps were bumped out of their playoff spot and into fifth place. They needed this win before they began to slip too far down that it was too late to crawl back up.
Netminder Yann Danis got the start between the pipes while Lindgren took a break after kicking off the first two games of the road trip.
Less than 24 hours after their first meeting, the IceCaps were the stronger team this time around. A wayward pass by Oleksy sent the puck right on Nikita Scherbak’s tape. Unassisted, Scherbak backhanded the puck in the net to open the scoring at 13:41.
Might as well give Oleksy an assist on this play, his errant pass sets up a beautiful backhand goal by Nikita Scherbak pic.twitter.com/KAyDQZ6ng2— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) March 5, 2017
Less than two minutes later, Jacob de la Rose joined in on the fun with a snipe that went up and over the shoulder of Bibeau to make it 2-0.
Shortly after, the IceCaps started to lose control of their sticks. Chris Terry was sent to the box for a high-sticking double-minor, and Joel Hanley also got called for high-sticking giving the Marlies a five-on-three opportunity heading into the second period.
The IceCaps finished killing off the penalties and took full advantage when it was their turn for a power play. Chris Terry notched number 22 on the season, with Scherbak and Zach Redmond picking up the helpers.
The third period saw nobody finding the back of the net on either side. In a desperation move, Bibeau was pulled with eight minutes left, but it didn’t help the Marlies.
The IceCaps dominated the Marlies in a 3-0 win and, as a bonus, Danis came away with his first shutout of the season.
The series split was enough to bump the IceCaps back into fourth place in the North Division and back into the playoff race they go.
- Yann Danis (SA: 24, SV: 24) - STJ
- Nikita Scherbak (1G, 1A) - STJ
- Chris Terry (1G) - STJ
This week, the IceCaps will suit up for a mid-week game against the first-place Syracuse Crunch on Wednesday, before having a rematch with the Americans and the Crunch on the weekend.