St. John’s, Newfoundland, February 11, 2015 – Chris Bourque had a goal and two assists for the Hartford Wolf Pack Wednesday night at Mile One Centre, but the St. John’s IceCaps recovered from a 4-2 third-period deficit for a 5-4 shootout win, in the second of back-to-back games between the two clubs.
St. John’s won the opener of the two-game series 3-0 on Tuesday night.
Chris Mueller had a goal and an assist for the Wolf Pack, and Ryan Haggerty and Justin Vaive also scored. Yann Danis made 31 saves. John Albert had a goal and an assist for St. John’s, which also got three assists from Will O’Neill. Kyle MacKinnon and J.C. Lipon scored IceCap shootout goals and Connor Hellebuyck made 25 saves.
Leading 3-2 going into the third period, the Wolf Pack increased the advantage to 4-2 at 10:38, as Vaive headed up the middle in the IceCap end and deflected Oscar Lindberg’s feed perfectly over Hellebuyck’s catching glove.
St. John’s responded quickly, though, after Steve Spinell was penalized for tripping at 11:33. On the ensuing power play, J.C. Lipon tried to wrap the puck around the post to Danis’ right, and after Danis made the save, Albert jammed the puck loose to Scott Kosmachuk, who deposited it into the cage at 12:13.
The IceCaps tied the score at 15:35 of the third, when Blair Riley deflected O’Neill’s slap shot from the left point past Danis.
Tyler Brown hit the post to Hellebuyck’s left on a shorthanded breakaway in the final minute of regulation, and then the Wolf Pack had a golden opportunity to win at 3:29 of overtime, when Haggerty was hooked after he stepped past the IceCaps defense and was awarded a penalty shot. Haggerty, however, missed wide right on the penalty shot opportunity.
In the shootout, MacKinnon and Lipon connected on the IceCaps’ first two shots, and Danny Kristo was the only one of three Wolf Pack shooters to solve Hellebuyck.
The Wolf Pack gave up the first goal of the game, but then came back with two quick tallies to lead 2-1 after one.
Brenden Kichton scored on a power-play rebound at 9:02 to put St. John’s on top, with Lindberg off for interference. O’Neill drove the puck from the middle of the blue line and Danis made the save, but couldn’t control the rebound. Danis stopped a try by MacKinnon, but Kichton moved down the slot from his defense position to bury the second chance.
The Wolf Pack turned the tables later in the period, though, with Mueller and Haggerty scoring only 37 seconds apart.
Mueller tied the game with his fifth goal of the season on a Wolf Pack power play at 13:42. IceCap defenseman Keaton Ellerby blocked a Michael Kostka shot from the left point with his skate, but the puck deflected to Mueller at the left side of the slot. Mueller put it in behind Hellebuyck, who had made 21 saves to blank the Wolf Pack in Tuesday’s game.
Haggerty then gave Hartford its first lead of the two-game series at 14:19, finding a seam down the right-wing side and ripping a shot into the top shelf past Hellebuyck. Ryan Bourque sent Haggerty with a pass from his own blue line, after Dylan McIlrath started the play from the defensive end.
The two teams traded goals in the second period, with Chris Bourque scoring on a power play for the Wolf Pack and Albert, the IceCaps’ scoring leader, responding for St. John’s.
Bourque one-timed a Mueller pass off the crossbar and into the net from the right faceoff dot at 12:12, as Hartford capitalized on the fact that two IceCap players had lost their sticks.
Albert got St. John’s back to within 3-2 just 2:30 later, though, at 14:42, converting a pass from Chase Balisy, who fed the puck from the left side to Albert driving the middle. Albert’s shot got by Danis high to the glove side.