Forward lines and defense pairings:
[one_half]Carr – McCarron – Thomas
Andrighetto – Hudon – Holloway
McNally – De la Rose – Dumont
Crisp – Gregoire – Neilson[/one_half]
[one_half_last]Barberio – Ellis
Bennett – Dietz
Didier – Thrower[/one_half_last]
Scratches: Brett Lernout, Joel Hanley, Ryan Johnston (hernia), Mark MacMillan, Nikita Scherbak (undisclosed), Tim Bozon (shoulder), Markus Eisenschmid
Sylvain Lefebvre was true to his word. The IceCaps head coach promised that his club would be better on Friday and his troops delivered.
It was a much better start with the St. John’s IceCaps outshooting their hosts 12-10 in the scoreless first period. As happened on Wednesday, Sven Andrighetto opened the scoring rifling a wrister just 30 seconds into the second period. Charles Hudon was the beneficiary of a great pass from Bud Holloway to score a power-play goal at 6:56 of the second giving the IceCaps a 2-0 lead.
It was the second assist of the game for Holloway.
Lehigh Valley’s Chris Conner scored the next two goals of the game to bring the Phantoms even with just under six minutes gone in the third period.
Mike McCarron scored the game-winner as he batted a rebound out of the air on the backhand. Even Phantoms goalie Anthony Stolarz was impressed telling The Morning Call, “For me, it’s just a slow shot coming in. Those are the hardest to control. I actually did a good job to get it off the ice, heading to the corner. McCarron made a nice play to whack it in the back door.”
The play was ruled onside by the lone linesman on the ice (the second linesman exited for undisclosed reasons in the third period) but the call was disputed by the Phantoms.
Compared to their game on Wednesday in this same building, St. John’s was stronger in all areas of the ice. A solid forecheck, an improved physical game and good goaltending each contributed to the win.
The only area lacking in this game was discipline. Lefebvre said that taking too many penalties has been an issue all season. The penalty-killers limited Lehigh Valley to one power-play goal on four opportunities.
It was the first game of the year for defenceman Josiah Didier and Dalton Thrower and forwards Brandon McNally and Eric Neilson. Thrower took exception when Fucale was driven into the back of the goal in the first period by Lehigh Valley forward Petr Straka. Midway through the second, Neilson took on Phantoms heavyweight Derek Mathers.
This was a well-played hockey game on both sides. The IceCaps were relentless on the puck all over the ice. Their pace and work effort were the difference.
Next up for the IceCaps is the Hershey Bears on Saturday night.
▲ Sven Andrighetto, Bud Holloway, Mike McCarron, Zach Fucale, Mark Barberio, Darren Dietz, Christian Thomas