ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - A six-game homestand may be exactly what the St. John's IceCaps need to stay in the chase for a playoff spot.
Eric O'Dell scored twice as St. John's opened the homestand with a 4-2 victory over the Eastern Conference-leading Binghamton Senators in American Hockey League play Friday.
Kael Mouillierat, who had a goal and two assists, said it was vital for the IceCaps to establish some momentum to start the long stay at home.
"We have six games at home here and we wanted to get off to a good start. I think we just played hard all night long, we knew we were playing a good team and we knew we needed a 60-minute effort," he said.
Kevin Clark also scored for St. John's (20-22-3), which is last in the Atlantic Division but just three points behind Manchester for the eighth and last playoff spot.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Shane Prince scored for Binghamton (27-11-4).
O'Dell, who became the first IceCaps player to record ten goals this season, said the team knew how difficult Binghamton would be coming into the game.
"We've been struggling at home lately, and Binghamton is top of the list in the conference. It was a big game for us," he said.
O'Dell added the team's home struggles this season need to change, and Saturday's game is even more important for St. John's (20-22-3).
"We usually go five-hundred at home, that's what we have been tending to do, so tomorrow is going to be a bigger game than tonight. We need to get the two points."
Mouillierat recently signed an AHL contract with St. John's, after playing most of the year in the ECHL, and has become a scoring threat by putting up 16 points in 23 games.
Moullierat said he felt fortunate to be signed to an AHL contract.
"I got to sign the contract there last week, and it's nice knowing you don't have to worry about being sent down and stuff like that. Now I get to focus on just playing hockey," he said.
IceCaps head coach Keith McCambridge said there is nothing magical about scoring on Robin Lehner, who made 30 saves for the Senators and was credited by McCambridge as an outstanding goaltender.
"His percentages are unbelievable, how he's been this season. You have to get traffic, but not just traffic of being in that area, you have to realize where he is in that net," said McCambridge.
"We were fortunate to get some goals on him, but I know this, if he does go tomorrow, he's going to be, again, a really focused goaltender."
Eddie Pasquale meanwhile had 21 saves for St. John's, which was a paltry 2 for 10 on the power play. Binghamton went 1 for 5.