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The St. John’s IceCaps look to even the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals with a win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in Game 2 Sunday night at Mile One Centre.
LAST GAME: Tom Kostopoulos scored the game-winner and Peter Mannino made 31 saves, as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins edged the St. John’s IceCaps 3-2 Saturday night at Mile One Centre to take Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final series.
Chuck Kobasew and Conor Sheary also scored for the Penguins. Andrew Gordon notched both of the IceCaps’ goals, while Michael Hutchinson turned aside 29 in a losing effort.
NOTES FROM LAST GAME: Not dressed for St. John’s: Ryan Olsen, Jordan Hill, Cody Lampl, Ryan Schnell, Josh Lunden, Julian Melchiori, Brandon MacLean, Austen Brassard, Jussi Olkinuora, Eddie Pasquale… Gordon now has three goals in his last two games… The IceCaps went 0-for-5 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill… St. John’s outshot Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 33-32… Molson Canadian Three Stars: 1. Tom Kostopoulos 2. Andrew Gordon 3. Brian Gibbons… Mary Brown’s Hardest Working Player: Brenden Kichton.
SCORING IN BUNCHES: IceCaps forward Andrew Gordon notched two goals last night to bring his playoff total to eight, good for second in the AHL. Five of Gordon’s eight goals have come in two games; he notched a hat trick in Game 4 versus Albany in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Gordon’s total makes him the highest goal-scorer in IceCaps playoff history, one more than Eric O’Dell (7).
ATOP THE LIST: Zach Redmond’s assist in Game 1 gave him eight for the postseason and 10 for his career, moving him past Paul Postma (9) for most in franchise history.
STRIKING FIRST: The IceCaps have scored first in all but two games this postseason. In those nine contests, St. John’s is 7-2. The Penguins have just two wins in five tries when their opponent gets on the board first.
DÉJÀ VU: The IceCaps and Penguins have a playoff history, having met in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 2012. That series went the distance, with the IceCaps winning 3-2 in Game 7 on home ice to advance. After splitting the first two games at Mile One, the clubs traded blows in three straight overtime games at Mohegan Sun Arena.
IRON MEN: John Albert and Patrice Cormier have suited up in all 26 IceCaps playoff games in franchise history. Carl Klingberg sits next on the list with 23 games played.
ROLE REVERSAL: During the regular season, the IceCaps finished third in goals for (3.39 per game) while the Penguins finished 1st in goals against (2.43 per game). The postseason thus far has seen the teams flip: St. John’s has allowed just 22 goals in 11 games, good for third overall, while the Penguins have scored 39 times in 12 contests, fourth-best in the league.
FAMILIAR FACES: One of the subplots of the series will be the return of former IceCaps Spencer Machacek and Peter Mannino, who were members of the opening night roster in October 2011. Machacek played nearly two full seasons with St. John’s, suiting up in 118 games and collecting 75 points (29G, 46A) and 93 penalty minutes. He led St. John’s in scoring in 2011-12 with 50 points (18G, 32A) while chipping in seven assists in 11 playoff games. Machacek split this past season with Springfield (34GP, 9G, 10A) and W-B/Scranton (22GP, 10G, 4A) and has played seven playoff games for the Penguins, registering a pair of helpers. Mannino played just 10 games for the IceCaps in 2011-12 before being re-assigned in January of 2012. In that time, Mannino went 4-5-0 with a 2.77 GAA, .909 SV% and one shutout, the first in franchise history on Oct. 8, 2011 at Manchester, a 1-0 win.
HEAD-TO-HEAD LEADERS (2014 Regular Season)
St. John’s: Carl Klingberg (4GP, 2-1-3) | Eric O’Dell (3GP, 2-1-3) | Eddie Pasquale (2-2-0, 2.02 GAA)
W-B/Scranton: Bobby Farnham (3GP, 2-2-4) | Brendan Mikkelson (4GP, 0-4-4) | Jeff Deslauriers (1-1-0, 1.01 GAA)