TORONTO - The St. John's IceCaps have started strong in their inaugural American Hockey League season ? leading the Eastern Conference after 22 games ? only to be constantly stymied by the Toronto Marlies.
That changed Sunday as John Albert's goal with just over seven minutes left in the third period was the winner in the IceCaps 4-2 victory over Toronto.
Albert got his stick to the puck to send it looping over a helpless Ben Scrivens in the Marlies net. Scrivens was disappointed in the game's final result.
"I was a little frustrated with a couple bad bounces and at the end we lose," said Scrivens, who was making his first appearance for the Marlies since being sent to the minors on Saturday by the NHL's Maple Leafs. "It is what it is, but I was happy to get on the ice and happy again to play with the Marlies."
Kenndal McArdle, Jason King and Marco Rosa had the other goals for St. John's (14-4-4). Rosa also had two assists. The win was the first for the IceCaps in three games against the Marlies.
Darryl Boyce and Kelsey Wilson scored for Toronto (13-7-4).
The Marlies got off to a quick start, scoring just 56 seconds into the game. Mike Zigomanis fed a streaking Boyce who poked the puck past veteran IceCaps goaltender David Aebischer from close range.
St. John's took control after that as Toronto ??? playing its third game in as many days ??? began to tire.
"I think we just ran out of gas," explained Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins. "Getting in at four in the morning on Saturday morning and playing (Saturday) and then another quick turnaround today ??? I thought we had it going on mostly in the first period.
"We took a couple penalties there late that took a lot of air out of our tanks."
St. John's ??? playing for the first time in Toronto ??? got the equalizer in the final seconds of the first. McArdle scored off a rebound for his first goal of the season with the Marlies' Nazem Kadri in the penalty box for hooking.
Kadri was also in the box in the third when Rosa scored the IceCaps final goal of the night.
"I was almost on my knees begging our guys to stay out of the box," said Eakins. "On days like today, you can literally only take one or two penalties. When you get up into that four or five range, that's when its really tough on your killers."
St. John's was the better team for most of the game. Scrivens, back in goal after getting called up to the Leafs at the end of October, kept Toronto in the game as the IceCaps vastly outshot the Marlies.
"I think we were getting outnumbered in shots by quite a few there in the first and second so (Scrivens) did a great job shutting the door," said Kadri. "He got a couple unlucky breaks and a couple and a couple of bad penalties and the pucks in the back of the net but he stood on his head."
St. John's second goal came on the power play. King picked up a rebound off Scrivens and put it in for his ninth of the season. That goal came on the IceCaps' 25th shot of the game.
Conversely, Toronto had just six shots on Aebischer at that point. Toronto had a more lively third period but in the end was outshot 39-21.
Toronto's equalizer came with 5:08 gone in the third. Kadri eluded his check with a nice spin move to Aebischer's left then found threw a backhand pass to Wilson, who put the puck past Aebischer.