ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - The St. John's IceCaps are looking at their series against Hershey as a test to see how playoff-ready they are.
Judging by Friday's 6-1 victory over the Bears in American Hockey League action, the IceCaps are looking quite ready.
?We were looking at this game, as we will for tomorrow night also, as a measuring stick for us," said St. John's head coach Keith McCambridge. "That's an elite organization in this league, that's an elite team.?
Patrice Cormier had a hat-trick and an assist to power the IceCaps offence, with captain Jason Jaffray, Spencer Machacek scored and Kevin Clark each adding a goal for St. John's (36-15-7).
?There's nights that everything you touch goes in, and there's night where everything you touch you look like the worst player out there,? Cormier said.
Kevin Clark had a goal and an assist, and John Albert had two assists for the IceCaps. Jason Jaffray and Spencer Machacek added singles.
Kyle Greentree scored the lone goal for Hershey (31-20-9).
Braden Holtby was hung out to dry by his team, and played a solid game and made 29 saves. Backup Dany Sabourin made it in for four shots and he allowed one goal, and was then replaced by Holtby.
Ed Pasquale made 19 saves in win.
Cormier opened up the scoring in the game at 7:53 in the first period. Arturs Kulda sent Cormier on a breakaway alone against Holtby, who allowed the puck to trickle through his legs and into the net.
Greentree pulled the game level on a power play at 10:34 in the first.
The second period was dominated by the IceCaps, as they outshot the Bears 15-4.
Jaffray scored his first on a gorgeous play that saw him deke two defenders and the goaltender.
Cormier added to the lead only 1:33 later when he scored in front of the net. Holtby made a slew of saves before Cormier potted the loose puck over the sprawling goalie.
Clark added a one-timer goal on a feed from Ben Maxwell at 12:53.
Cormier's hat trick goal came early in the third period on another breakaway chance, finishing with a nifty forehand-backhand deke to beat Holtby.
???(Cormier) does a lot of really good things," said McCambridge. "When you put him out there, you look at him as that prototypical third, fourth-line centre in the National Hockey League. He's good on face-offs, he's a big, strong guy down low, he's hard to play against, but he also has a nice set of hands.???
Machacek added a third-period marker to finish off the rout.
The IceCaps went 0-for-2 on the power play while Hershey was 1-for-3.
Cormier expects the Bears to be a difficult team in the rematch Saturday.
???You can't expect nothing less, they want to win. Saturday night in Newfoundland they don't want to lose two. It's a special town, teams come here wanting to win. It's up to us to just play the same way.???