The St. John’s Ice Caps took the series advantage over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Wednesday night, with a win on the road that was as dominant as they come.
Patrice Cormier started the scoring for St. John’s at the 11 minute mark of the first period, finding the net with his first goal of the post-season on the power-play. Goals by Jason Jaffray and Eric O’Dell widened the gap, and less than halfway through the game, St. John’s was sitting pretty with a 3-0 lead.
After two penalties by Penguins players, Kael Mouillierat scored his third of the playoffs on the resulting 5-on-3 advantage, the Ice Caps’ second power-play goal of the game.
With just .1 left on the clock in the second period, Zach Redmond scored his first goal of the playoffs, and the Ice Caps walked in to the dressing room with a substantial lead.
With a 5-0 lead, it was the Ice Caps’ game to lose. They played an effective road period in the final frame, with the Penguins managing 10 shots, unable to get one by Ice Caps’ goaltender Michael Hutchinson.
Hutchinson earned the game’s First Star award on the heels of yet another remarkable playoff performance, with a 30-save shutout. Andrew Gordon‘s trio of assists gave him the Second Star nod, while Eric O’Dell was the game’s Third Star, finishing with a goal and an assist.
Special teams were the story of the game for the Ice Caps, who went 2-for-5 on the man-advantage, while killing all 6 penalties, including a lengthy stint at 3-on-5. Both teams were fruitless in the first two games of the series, coming in with a combined 0-for-16 power-play rate.
The Ice Caps continue to put faith in the defensive pairing of 2013 first-round draft pick Josh Morrissey, and Will O’Neill. The pairing started the game for St. John’s, and finished with a combined two assists, and a +3 rating.
In a game where the Ice Caps were the better team from start to finish, each and every player contributed to the win in some way. Take Adam Lowry for example, despite finishing without a point, his win in the fight against Simon Despres denied the Penguins any spark, when they needed it most in the second period.
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond may face a suspension by the AHL, after being assessed a 10-minute misconduct for Abuse Of An Official in the final half of the third period.
The Ice Caps will look to push the Penguins to the brink of elimination with a win in Game Four of the series, which goes on Thursday night from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Pennsylvania.
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