Forward lines and defense pairings:
[one_half]Bournival – McCarron – Holloway
Hudon – Dumont – Eisenschmid
Lessio – de la Rose – Friberg
Gregoire – MacMillan – Fournier[/one_half]
[one_half_last]Hanley – Lernout
Ellis – Didier
Bennett – Dietz[/one_half_last]
Scratches: Eric Neilson, Brandon McNally, Connor Crisp (undisclosed), Nikita Scherbak (undisclosed)
Injured reserve: Ryan Johnston (back surgery)
Going into tonight’s game, the IceCaps had dropped five of their last six games including three consecutive losses at home. They needed a spark. Newcomer Max Friberg got things started almost as quickly as Gabriel Dumont had done the previous night, scoring the first goal of the game just one minute after the opening faceoff.
St. John’s dominated the puck all night, outshooting the Penguins 40-19. Mark MacMillan and Morgan Ellis added to the IceCaps tally in the first period, heading into the locker room ahead 3-2. Even the struggling power play unit woke up with Ellis’ goal and continued with a man-advantage goal by Bud Holloway in the second.
But each time St. John’s scored two goals, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton came back and scored two of their own. Then they kept scoring. The IceCaps watched as their opponent mounted four unanswered goals, with a total of six goals on just 19 shots. Zach Fucale was pulled after the sixth goal, but the damage was done.
Backchecking was non-existent, and play in the defensive zone was meager at best. Bad turnovers, dismal coverage, and a couple of soft goals led the IceCaps to another loss and a season sweep by the Penguins.
Coach Sylvain Lefebvre has churned his line combinations in many different ways over the past few games, but it seems that something special is needed to bring the cohesive of the team back to its early-season success. They next face the Toronto Marlies who come to St. John’s Saturday and Sunday.
▲ Max Friberg, Morgan Ellis, Jacob de la Rose, Bud Holloway
▼ Michael McCarron, Charles Hudon, Zach Fucale