ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - The Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins couldn't figure out how to contain Brock Trotter, and the St. John's IceCaps forward made them pay.
Trotter two breakaway goals Tuesday as the IceCaps took Game 1 of their American Hockey League quarter-final match-up against the Penguins, 3-1.
Trotter was given the coveted fisherman's hat following the game, which is given out by the IceCaps to the player the team feels deserves it most.
"I guess they were pretty happy with my goals tonight," Trotter said.
Garth Murray also scored for St. John's.
Cal O'Reilly replied for the Penguins.
Defenceman Brett Festerling said the IceCaps stuck to their game plan and avoided taking too many chances.
"I think you've just got to stick with the game plan we've planned all week," he said. "We have a great first, and they are up 1-0. We didn't take too many chances, we didn't cheat, we stick to the game plan."
Festerling, who has found himself in the role of shut-down defenceman these playoffs, has been working well alongside fellow blue-liner Arturs Kulda.
"He's solid, he's playing the off-side too, which a lot of guys don't recognize," Festerling said of Kulda. "That's not his natural side. We're feeling pretty comfortable together, and we're having fun playing together."
The Penguins opened the scoring 4:42 into the game on a power play. Murray blocked a shot for the IceCaps, but the puck took a bounce right to O'Reilly, who scored from just outside of the crease.
St. John's had an opportunity to tie the game when Jason King was awarded a penalty shot minutes before the end of the period, but King's high wrist shot led to a routine glove save for Penguins starter Brad Thiessen.
The IceCaps tied the game on a goal from Trotter at 7:25 of the second period. Trotter took a stretch pass that led him on a breakaway, and he pulled a nifty forehand-backhand move for the game-tying goal.
The IceCaps took control of the game in the third period.
Paul Postma was skating to the bench on a line change, when he noticed a puck coming towards him. He picked up the puck and made a long stretch pass to the streaking Trotter, who went in on another breakaway. Trotter pulled an identical move to his first goal to put St. John's ahead.
St. John's took advantage of a gaffe by Thiessen to seal the game.
Thiessen skated out of his net to play the puck, but failed to get a handle on it. John Albert gained possession set up Murray's insurance goal at 18:46 of the third period.
"Overall we had a strong first period, second period the game got away from us a little bit, we got hemmed in our own zone," IceCaps coach Keith McCambridge said. "Third was back and forth, but overall a strong performance.???
Thiessen finished with 34 saves, while IceCaps starter Ed Pasquale had 19.
The IceCaps were 0-for-3 on the power play while Wilkes-Barre Scranton went 1-for-3.
McCambridge expects a stronger game from the Penguins in Game 2.
"We know we are going to see an even bigger push from that team tomorrow, that's just the way it is playing back-to-back games," McCambridge said. "I thought they played strong. They are going to be stronger tomorrow, and we need to be the same."