ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - John Albert was more interested in praising his teammates than taking the credit after leading the St. John's IceCaps to victory.
The rookie beat Manchester goalie Martin Jones with 42 seconds left in regulation Saturday as the IceCaps completed a weekend sweep of the Monarchs with a 3-2 win in the American Hockey League.
"I was just happy to get it for the team," Albert said. "They worked really hard tonight, all the lines were going. It was a fortunate bounce, but it happened, and I'm happy to do it for the team."
Spencer Machacek and Jason Gregoire also scored for the IceCaps (21-8-5), who got 14 saves from David Aebischer.
Rob Mignardi and Dwight King replied for the Monarchs (21-15-2), while Jones made 33 stops in the loss. Jordan Nolan added two assists.
King's goal with 2:31 to play in the third tied the score 2-2.
St. John's head coach Keith McCambridge pleased his team was able to respond after giving up the lead late.
"They scored that goal, and we didn't sit back on our heels," McCambridge said. "We got out two shifts later and Albert gets that nice goal. That's what you want from your team."
St. John's won both weekend games against Manchester, which had taken over first place in the Eastern Conference. The IceCaps regained first in the division and conference by a three-point margin and still have four games in hand on their divisional rival.
"It's really big. We knew they were going to be two really hard-fought games," McCambridge said. "Those divisional games, as you hear, are always four-point games so it's nice to make some ground up top."
McCambridge said the turning point came when the IceCaps killed off a five minute major given to Ben Maxwell for boarding on Mignardi, who did not return to the game.
"That was a turning point for us. It could have went the other way, but we built some momentum from that, killed it off, the full five. We got some energy and just kept rolling from there," he said. "It could have been on the negative side obviously if that went in the back of the net, but a real strong performance from the killers."
Tied 1-1 entering the third, Gregoire solved Jones at 5:24 after moving past a Manchester defender and firing a backhander to give St. John's a 2-1 lead.
But King fired a one-timer on a Monarchs power play to level the game. That set the stage for Albert's late heroics.
Mignardi gave Manchester a 1-0 lead at 15:45 of the first after Aebischer made three initial saves in front.
Machacek levelled the game for the IceCaps at 1:26 of the second period when he took the puck across the blue-line and put a low shot on net. Jones mad the initial save, but Machacek capitalized on the rebound.
Manchester was 1-for-4 on the power play on the night, while St. John's was 0-for-2.