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IceCaps vs. Comets recap: Charlie Lindgren shuts the door on Utica

In a fight to the finish, the IceCaps clawed their way back into a playoff position.

St. John’s IceCaps

It’s been a busy weekend for the St. John’s IceCaps as they fought to make their way back into the final playoff spot in the North Division. After coming back from a 3-0 deficit, the IceCaps fell 4-3 to the Albany Devils on Friday night. The following evening was a whole different story when they came back with a huge 5-0 victory over the Binghamton Senators.

On Sunday afternoon, they faced the Utica Comets. With just a handful of games left in the regular season and such a tight race, both teams were eager to grab their spot for a chance at the Calder Cup.

After spending a couple of weeks up with the Montreal Canadiens, netminder Charlie Lindgren was sent back to the IceCaps on Sunday morning and made it just in time to suit up for the game that afternoon.

The scoresheet remained empty for the opening period, however the penalty box did not. The IceCaps spent a total of eight minutes in the sin bin, while the Comets took up residence for 10.

Zach Redmond almost put the IceCaps on the board when he fired one on net with three minutes left in the first, but he was denied by Thatcher Demko. The result of the save was a scuffle in front of the Utica net.

With 1:30 left, the IceCaps had a man advantage with a four-on-three. It was another close call, this time for Chris Terry, who ended up fanning on a one-timer.

The second period remained a little more civil than the first as the Comets nearly tripled the IceCaps shots on goal at 13-5. Lindgren kept the game at zeroes with a nice toe save when Curtis Valk went in for a shot during a Comets power play.

It was Josiah Didier, from the point, who was the one to open the scoring with just over two minutes left in the period. Nikita Scherbak picked up his 28th assist with the helper. It was only Didier’s second goal of the season, but it was all the IceCaps needed.

St. John’s turned up the heat in the final period, outshooting the Comets 13-6. There were a few close calls with both Stefan Matteau and Charles Hudon hitting iron, but the score remained 1-0 for the IceCaps.

Lindgren built upon the winning streak he extended while up with the Canadiens. He turned away all 25 shots he faced, doing his part to put his team back in the playoff race, and into fourth place once again.

Three Stars

  1. Charlie Lindgren (STJ)
  2. Zach Redmond (STJ)
  3. Thatcher Demko (UTI)

North Division Standings

x - Toronto Marlies 73 40 28 4 1 85 0.582 37
x-Syracuse Crunch 73 35 24 7 7 84 0.575 33
Albany Devils 73 37 31 2 3 79 0.541 34
St. John's IceCaps 74 35 29 8 2 80 0.541 32
Utica Comets 73 34 30 7 2 77 0.527 32
Rochester Americans 72 31 39 0 2 64 0.444 30
Binghamton Senators 73 27 42 2 2 58 0.397 25

Both the Comets and the Devils have one game in hand, with contests coming up on Wednesday. Then it’s a race to the finish, as all three teams who are fighting for that coveted final spot conclude their season this coming weekend.

The IceCaps head back home for their final two games of the regular season with a weekend series against the Toronto Marlies on Friday and Saturday.