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Looking to Clinch

by Chris Doyle / Winnipeg Jets

Saturday, May 31st (8:35 PM NDT, Mohegan Sun Arena)

GAME 5 – Eastern Conference Finals (IceCaps lead best-of-seven series 3-1)



The St. John’s IceCaps eked out a gutsy 2-1 victory in an important Game 4 at Mohegan Sun Arena to take a 3-1 lead over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the American Hockey league Eastern Conference Final. A win in Game 5 would give the IceCaps their first Calder Cup appearance in team history.

LAST GAME: After a scoreless opening frame, the IceCaps kicked it up a notch in the second period, outshooting the Penguins 19-2.

The hard work paid off when Will O’Neill scored a power play goal with 27 seconds remaining in the period to take a 1-0 lead into the third period.

The resilient Penguins tied the game at 6:48 of the third period as Brian Dumoulin’s point shot deflected in behind IceCaps starting goaltender Michael Hutchinson.

The IceCaps didn’t take long to respond and seal the deal as Josh Lunden reeled off a perfect wraparound for his first goal of the postseason at 9:19.

St. John’s played a strong defensive game down the stretch in the third period and Hutchinson shut the door to lead the IceCaps to a 3-1 lead in the series.

Hutchinson was strong between the pipes and finished the night allowing one goal on 18 shots. Penguins starter Peter Mannino made 29 saves.

NOTES FROM LAST GAME: 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… The IceCaps outshot the Penguins 31-18… St. John’s went 2-for-9 on the power play and 6-for-6 on the penalty kill. They have not allowed a power play goal on 20 chances in the series… St. John’s has scored two power play goals in back-to-back games … Molson Canadian Three Stars: 1. Josh Lunden 2. Peter Mannino 3. Michael Hutchinson… Mary Brown’s Hardest Working Player: Kyle MacKinnon.

DEPTH IS KEY: With Josh Lunden’s game winner in Game 4, every IceCaps skater has now recorded a point in the 2014 playoffs. St. John’s is the only team in the American Hockey League playoffs to have all skaters on their roster who have played at least one game record a point. Even goaltender Michael Hutchinson has recorded two assists this postseason.

GETTING HOT AT THE RIGHT TIME: Andrew Gordon now has four assists in his last two games and eight points (3G, 5A) in his last five games. Will O’Neill has a three-game point streak, recording a goal and three assists in the span.

CLOSING IT OUT: The IceCaps are now one win away from a berth in the Calder Cup Final. Heading into a potential clinching game, the numbers may be in their favour as they boast a record of 2-1 in 2014 playoff games in which they can close out a series.

HEAD-TO-HEAD LEADERS (2014 Playoffs)

St. John’s: Andrew Gordon (4GP, 2-4-6) | Will O’Neill (4GP, 1-3-4) | Michael Hutchinson (3-1-0, 1.26 GAA, .957 save %)

W-B/Scranton: Conor Sheary (4GP, 1-1-2) | Anton Zlobin (4GP, 1-1-2) | Peter Mannino (1-3-0, 3.03 GAA, .906 save %)

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