ST. JOHN’S, NL — Led by a stellar 34-save performance from Michael Hutchinson and goals from Carl Klingberg and Kyle MacKinnon, the St. John’s IceCaps downed the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 2-1 Sunday night at Mile One Centre.
With the win, St. John’s evened up its best-of-seven Eastern Conference Final series 1-1.
The IceCaps struck first 13:54 into the opening frame, when MacKinnon notched his second of the post-season. Sprung on a partial breakaway by Blair Riley, MacKinnon busted in on goal with a head of steam before firing it top shelf over the blocker of Peter Mannino to make it 1-0.
In the second period, Klingberg extended the IceCaps’ lead to two at 6:24. With St. John’s pressuring in the Penguins’ zone, Eric O’Dell dished the disc to O’Neill, whose wrist shot from the point was tipped in by Klingberg high to the glove side of Mannino, who made 27 saves in a losing effort.
With under six minutes to play in the middle frame, Hutchinson stoned Harry Zolnierczyk’s breakaway attempt with a quick pad save to help preserve his shutout bid through 40 minutes.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton cut the deficit to one with just over a minute remaining in the final period, however, on a goal from Anton Zlobin. With Mannino pulled for the extra attacker, Zlobin took the feed from Brian Gibbons and wristed it past a helpless Hutchinson to make it 2-1.
From there, the IceCaps closed out the win to even up the series at one game apiece.
The best-of-seven series now shifts to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for Games 3, 4, and 5, with Game 3 set for Wednesday night (8:35 PM NT) at Mohegan Sun Arena. Catch all the action with broadcaster Brian Rogers on www.stjohnsicecaps.com and 930 AM, or watch online at www.ahllive.com. Pregame gets underway at 8:05.
Notes: Not dressed for St. John’s: Kris Fredheim, Jerome Samson, Ryan Olsen, Cody Lampl, Ryan Schnell, Julian Melchiori, Brandon MacLean, Austen Brassard, Jussi Olkinuora, Eddie Pasquale… The IceCaps went 0-for-3 on the man advantage and 6-for-6 on the penalty kill… Andrew Gordon saw his two-game goal-scoring streak come to an end… The IceCaps have scored the game’s first goal in 10-of-12 contests this postseason… Molson Canadian Three Stars: 1. Michael Hutchinson 2. Carl Klingberg 3. Kyle MacKinnon… Mary Brown’s Hardest Working Player: Patrice Cormier.