IceCaps close homestead with third period comeback

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I mentioned in yesterday’s recap that the St. John’s IceCaps
really needed to pick up some points against the Worcester Sharks if they
wanted to remain in contention for a playoff spot. Their game on Saturday did
them no favours, and it looked like history was going to repeat itself on
Sunday as well. However, as the hourglass trickled away on the game, something
magical happened.

The Rundown

To say this game started poorly for St. John’s would be the
understatement of the year. The Sharks absolutely poured it on during the first
period, outshooting the home team 20-4, and eventually got the goals to match,
courtesy of Rylan Schwartz and Travis Oleksuk in the period’s final five
minutes. That’s bad.

Things continued to go downhill in the second, as Worcester’s
shot dominance faded a little bit, but still persisted. Midway through the
period, Matt Taormina added a powerplay tally and with twenty five seconds to
go in the frame, Michael Haley contributed another. Connor Hellebucyk was
pulled in favour of Jussi Olkinuora. That’s worse.

The game seemed hopeless at this point so when Blair Riley
scored with fourteen and a half minutes to go, nobody thought much of it.
However, Patrice Cormier followed up with his sixth of the season two and a
half minutes later. At this point, the game had become competitive again, but
the IceCaps still had two goals to score in fifteen minutes. That’s worrisome.

No problem, though. With five minutes to go, they were
gifted one of their two powerplay opportunities of the game, and it took just
fifteen seconds for Brenden Kichton to convert. The clock continued to tick
down, but with two minutes to go, Chase Balisy scored his twelfth of the year.
That’s a tie game.

This brought us to overtime. In the extra frame, the
newly-energized IceCaps had control, and it seemed like just a matter of time
before they capped off a historic comeback. Three and a half minutes in,
Kichton delivered again, scoring his second of the night and winning the game
for St. John’s.

Player of the Game

The entire team. Getting dominated in the first period is
pretty inexcusable, and it’s not ideal to fall behind by four goals, but the
mental fortitude that the entire lineup showed by continuing to take this game
seriously in the third period paid massive dividends.

Other Notes

  • Will O’Neill is now up to five assists in his past three
    games. Always good to have some offensive contribution from the point.
  • Connor Hellebucyk allowed four goals on thirty two shots and
    didn’t play in the third period. Not the greatest showing for him, but in his
    defence, he was hung out to dry in the first period. Jussi Olkinuora looked
    good in the third period and overtime, stopping all eight shots.
  • Brenden Kichton, Chase Balisy, Eric O’Dell, and Will O’Neill
    ended up with multiple points in the final twenty three minutes which is pretty
    impressive.
  • Carl Klingberg lead the team with four shots, though he
    didn’t convert on any of them. He had an assist on the overtime winner.
  • Lack of discipline almost buried the IceCaps last night;
    three of the goals against came on the penalty kill, somewhere where they were
    on seven occasions.
  • The IceCaps return to the ice on Friday to take on the
    Manchester Monarchs, in Manchester.
Photo courtesy of StJohnsIceCaps.com