WILKES BARRE, Pa. - Ben Maxwell scored 27 seconds into overtime Sunday as the St. John’s IceCaps rallied for a 3-2 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in American Hockey League playoff action.
The IceCaps now lead 3-1 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series. Game 5 is Tuesday in Wilkes-Barre.
Maxwell's winner came on a scramble in front of the Penguins' net. Jason King pushed a rebound into a crowd near the crease and Maxwell put it in for the game-winner.
“It hit a couple shin pads in there and managed to wind up on my stick and go in,” Maxwell said.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton took a 2-0 lead in the first period by scoring on its first two shots, but the IceCaps answered back with two in the second.
“I thought we held our composure when we could have lost focus and gotten frustrated,” St. John’s coach Keith McCambridge said.
Colin McDonald connected from the slot at 4:30 of the first for his team-high fifth goal of the playoffs for Wilkes-Barre, before Eric Tangradi converted from close range 2:19 later after taking a pass from Geoff Walker.
Tangradi assisted McDonald’s goal with a pass from the left corner.
“We’ve got a great defensive corps,” Maxwell said. “We figured if we could shut them out for the rest of the 40 or so minutes, the offence would take care of itself.”
Derek Meech, the league’s top scoring defenceman in the playoffs, scored his fourth goal for St. John’s on a power play at 4:24 of the second.
Meech sent a wrist shot from the right point through traffic into the upper left corner of the net.
A scoreless third period sent the teams into overtime for the second time in less than 24 hours and St. John’s again came out on top.
“Wilkes-Barre is a very good team and is playing some strong hockey,” McCambridge said. “All of the games have been really strongly contested and expect more of the same.”
IceCaps goaltender Eddie Pasquale needed to make just 14 saves for the win, while Brad Thiessen stopped 26 shots for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
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