ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Jason Jaffray is the first to admit he isn't very good in a shootout, but the St. John's IceCaps' captain didn't look out of place in the spotlight Friday.
Jaffray scored the final goal of the shootout to lift St. John's to a 4-3 win over the Albany Devils in American Hockey League play.
"It's a little nerve-wracking, but you try not to think about it too much," Jaffray said.
"I tried not to think about a move going down and take what the goalie gave me. (Keith Kinkaid) waited me out pretty good, but I had a little bit more patience at the end and slid it into the far corner."
Alex Burmistrov also scored in the shootout, while Raymond Sawada, Carl Klingberg and Zach Redmond had goals in regulation for St. John's (6-7-0).
Albany (3-5-3) had goals from Jay Leach, Adam Henrique and Jacob Josefson, while Mattias Tedenby scored in the shootout.
IceCaps head coach Keith McCambridge praised goaltender Mark Dekanich after the shootout.
"(Dekanich) was really good. I thought he made some real key saves for us," said McCambridge. "In the third period he made a point-blank one, and the save he made in the shootout to stretch post-to-post across the crease was a real difference maker in that shootout."
The first period was exactly what was expected from a game between the two weakest offences in the league coming into the game, with St. John's averaging 2.08 goals per game and Albany averaging two.
The teams combined for 13 shots, and no goals were scored.
The game jumped to life early in the second period when Sawada opened the scoring at 1:54. Sawada buried a cross-ice pass from Maxime Macenauer while he was falling to the ice.
McCambridge said the checking line of Macenauer, John Albert and Sawada has been good in all situations for the IceCaps since Sawada returned from an injury five games ago.
"They have been really good for us. They have been our energy line and they create chances on the offensive side of the puck," said McCambridge. "Any time I put those guys out there five-on-five they seem to try to get that momentum back on our side, so a nice card to have in your pocket."
St. John's added to its lead at 8:09. Klingberg skated down the right boards and buried a low wrist shot past Kinkaid, who finished with 26 saves.
The Devils finished the second period down just one goal when Leach scored at 11:01 on a slapshot that went through the legs of one of the IceCaps.
The Devils almost pulled the game level right out of the gate when they had a goal disallowed just 25 seconds into the third. The disallowed goal led to a power play for Albany, but the Devils failed to capitalize.
Albany tied the game at even-strength at 5:45 on a goal from Henrique.
Henrique gained the zone and scored on a brilliant solo effort over Dekanich, who made 28 saves.
The celebration didn't last long for the Devils as the IceCaps took the lead again at 10:38.
St. John's took advantage on a quick break-out from their defensive zone, which featured at least four of the five players, before Redmond buried a shot high.
"The goals finally came," said Jaffray. "It's nice to get three goals on the scoreboard tonight from a couple different sources."
Albany had another disallowed goal around the six-minute mark.
The Devils succeeded in tying the game despite the disallowed goals when Josefson took a feed in the slot and rifled in the tying power-play goal at 17:56.