HAMILTON - Jussi Olkinuora made 30 saves for his first professional shutout, as the St. John's IceCaps defeated the Hamilton Bulldogs 3-0 Saturday in American Hockey League action.
Dustin Tokarski stopped 36 shots for the Bulldogs (12-12-3).
The Bulldogs got the better of an entertaining first period in which both teams enjoyed quality scoring chances.
A giveaway at the defensive blue line by Hamilton winger Nick Tarnasky gave Jerome Samson room to operate along the right wing. The St. John's forward moved in to the hashmarks and released a rising wrist shot that beat Tokarski but rang off his near post.
Just over ten minutes into the first period, another Tarnasky giveaway sent the IceCaps into the Bulldogs zone on a 2-on-1 break, but Tokarski was alert in sliding to his left and snaring the one-time shot with his glove.
Tarnasky found himself in the spotlight once again with 4:17 to play in the first period, when he enjoyed Hamilton's best opportunity to score the game's first goal. A cross-ice pass found him posted just outside Olkinuora's crease at the right post, but Tarnasky couldn't corral the puck, and the goaltender recovered and sprawled to deny the chance.
The IceCaps enjoyed a length two-man advantage early in the second period, as Maxime Macenauer was whistled for slashing at 2:43 and Mike Blunden followed with a delay of game infraction 22 seconds later.
Tokarski was sharp in denying St. John's on multiple occasions, as Hamilton held the visitors off the scoreboard over the course of the 5-on-3.
There was little for the goaltender to do, however, when the IceCaps opened the scoring at 7:48 of the second period.
Samson's initial slap shot was kicked aside by Tokarski, but fell to Mouillerat in the low slot, and he circled the fallen goaltender and slid a shot inside the near post as Tokarski dove unsuccessfully to meet it.
The IceCaps doubled their lead at 14:35 of the second, when Carl Klingberg converted his second breakaway opportunity of the game. Latching onto a loose puck in the neutral zone, the St. John's forward shifted from his backhand to his forehand side and slid the puck past Tokarski.
St. John's struck early in the third period to extend its lead to 3-0 and put the game out of reach.
The initial point shot by Brenden Kichton was saved by Tokarski, but the rebound bounced to O'Dell, who easily slotted the puck into the open net at 3:54.
Olkinuora made an exceptional save to preserve his shutout bid with 3:21 to play, picking Martin St. Pierre's close-range wrist shot out of the air with his glove.