WILKES-BARRE, PA – The St. John’s IceCaps couldn’t punch their ticket to the Calder Cup final Saturday, losing 4-2 to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in Game 6 at Mohegan Sun Arena.
The Penguins scored three times in the third, including Zach Sill’s game-winner with 16 seconds left in regulation, to stay alive in the 2014 Calder Cup playoffs. Chuck Kobasew scored twice while Peter Mannino made 19 saves on 21 shots.
Will O’Neill had a goal and an assist for the IceCaps, while Andrew Gordon notched a pair of helpers. Michael Hutchinson made 28 saves on 31 shots.
O’Neill put the IceCaps in front at 12:27 of the opening period with his second power play tally in as many games. After a pair of slashing calls to Sill and Philip Samuelsson, O’Neill took the puck near the side boards and skated to the high slot before wristing a shot past Penguins goaltender Peter Mannino on the blocker side.
Just 3:49 into the second, Spencer Machacek drew the Penguins even. On the two-on-one rush, the former IceCap kept and picked the top corner over Hutchinson’s blocker to make it a 1-1 game.
St. John’s retook the lead at 14:05 of the second with another power play goal. O’Neill again put the puck on net from the middle of the ice and Cormier got a piece to beat Mannino on the redirection and give the IceCaps a 2-1 advantage.
The Penguins pressed hard for the equalizer in the third and were rewarded for their efforts with 7:30 left. After sustained pressure for nearly 90 seconds, Kobasew was left alone in the slot and took a pass from Andrew Ebbett before burying it past Hutchinson to make it 2-2.
With the game seemingly headed to overtime, Sill’s goal at 19:44 put the Penguins on top for good. Tom Kostopoulos threw the puck on goal from the side boards before Harry Zolnierczyk fed Sill in front. Sill’s shot went off the post and hit the arm of a sprawled Hutchinson, then trickled over the goal line for a 3-2 W-B/Scranton lead.
Kobasew found the empty net with seven seconds to go to seal the victory, but not before a melee after the play resulted in a slew of misconduct penalties.
The IceCaps and Penguins head back to St. John’s for Game 6 Tuesday night at Mile One Centre (7:30 p.m. NT). Tickets for Game 6 are still available at www.mileonecentre.com.
Catch all the action with broadcaster Brian Rogers on Rogers TV, Eastlink TV, AHL Live, www.stjohnsicecaps.com and www.ahllive.com. Pregame show starts at 7:00.
NOTES: Not dressed for the IceCaps: Josh Morrissey, Jerome Samson, Ryan Olsen, Cody Lampl, Julian Melchiori, Ryan Schnell, Brandon MacLean, Austen Brassard, Eddie Pasquale, Jussi Olkinuora… Will O’Neill has six points in his last four games (2G, 4A) and two straight multi-point efforts… Andrew Gordon has six assists in his last three games… Molson Canadian Three Stars: 1. Zach Sill 2. Chuck Kobasew 3. Spencer Machacek… Mary Brown’s Hardest Working Player: Will O’Neill.