After coming out and putting the pressure on the Syracuse Crunch, the IceCaps rewarded with a massive victory on Friday night. Even with a waved-off goal, the top line of Nikita Scherbak, Chris Terry, and Charles Hudon proved too hot to handle. And in net, the stingy play of Charlie Lindgren held the fort against a late surge.
Game Two would contain much of the same, with it being a hard hitting, fast paced affair at Mile One Centre.
After a strong start out of the gate in the first period of Game One, the IceCaps were unable to replicate the same results this time around. They had their chances. In fact, Bobby Farnham had multiple breaks on net, including one short-handed. Mike McKenna remained up to the task after a great start on Friday night. Opposite him Lindgren was flawless in the IceCaps net during the opening period, turning away all 12 shots that he faced.
The second period was all Lindgren. The IceCaps netminder made a number of incredible saves, including a penalty shot save on Tye McGinn.
Charlie Lindgren stops Tye McGinn on the penalty shot, proceeds to drop the mic after. pic.twitter.com/hY8h7uhQxt— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) April 22, 2017
Bolstered by the stellar play of their goalie, it would be the line of Stefan Matteau, Max Friberg and Jacob de la Rose that got their team on the board. Friberg dished off to Matteau, who laid in a perfect saucer pass for de la Rose, who then tipped it in past McKenna.
Jacob de la Rose continues to own the Syracuse Crunch, this is de la Rose's first goal of the playoffs. pic.twitter.com/rhumUsCF6M— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) April 22, 2017
The Crunch would not be denied, however, as less than two minutes later they would tie the game up at one goal apiece. Slater Koekkoek crept in from his spot at the point, finding a soft spot in the IceCaps defence. His teammate fed him a perfect pass and a sprawling Lindgren had no chance to stop the backdoor goal. The middle frame would end with the score still tied at one, but the momentum would soon shift to St. John’s.
It would be the IceCaps top line who, once again, shined bright in the third period. Hudon, in particular. Gabriel Dumont fell victim to his former teammate who not only stripped him of the puck, but proceeded to turn around and snipe a shot past McKenna to break the deadlock.
Hudon steals, snipes, and the IceCaps lead 2-1! pic.twitter.com/SVDnaPgfM5— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) April 23, 2017
Matteau continued with his strong play in the post-season, when he converted a Friberg pass into a two-goal lead for the IceCaps.
MATTEAU MATTEAU MATTEAU!— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) April 23, 2017
IceCaps lead 3-1! pic.twitter.com/Jb5m4CzmgY
The Crunch, desperate for a goal, pulled McKenna with over four minutes left in the period, and it paid off big time. Matteau missed a long-range empty net attempt and Matt Taormina took full advantage, bouncing a shot off of Zach Redmond and into the IceCaps net. Then, with a delayed penalty and an extra skater on the ice, Cory Conacher rocketed home a shot to tie the game at three, and eventually force overtime.
Overtime would continue the back and forth slug-fest between the North Division rivals, and had its own share of controversy. Daniel Audette jumped on a loose puck in the zone and fed it to Farnham who fired it on net before Yannick Veilleux directed it past McKenna. However, after a lengthy review, the officials deemed it no goal and the extra period continued.
Potential OT winner here is waved off pic.twitter.com/3Kknc8JzFp— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) April 23, 2017
Another potential game winner was waved off later in the period, when Erik Condra was shoved from behind causing him to slide into the Syracuse net, knocking it off its moorings. At the same time, Scherbak wired the puck past McKenna but the net had already been dislodged, nullifying the goal and sending the game into a second overtime.
The second overtime was similar to the first period with big saves and waved off goals. The Crunch thought Taormina had scored late in the second overtime, however, due to incidental contact with Lindgren, the goal was waved off.
The IceCaps had their chance to capitalize when Byron Froese took a delay of game call. Redmond’s shot beat McKenna but couldn’t solve the post, and the Crunch ended up killing the penalty. Immediately after the kill, Taormina found a wide open McGinn who notched the game winner for Syracuse for a 4-3 victory.
No one covers Tye McGinn and the IceCaps head to Syracuse tied 1-1 in the best of five series pic.twitter.com/UAtb7xZuHa— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) April 23, 2017
1. Tye McGinn(1 Goal)
2. Stefan Matteau(1 Goal 1 Assist)
3. Cory Conacher(1 Goal 1 Assist)
With the series now tied 1-1, the game shifts to Syracuse for the final three contests of the first round. Game Three takes place on Wednesday night, with a 7pm EST puck drop.